Month: April 2014

QUICKPICKLE Trailer Park Boys

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Firstly my heartiest apologies for readers, and the dear team of Picklepants for my absurdly late review. I realise that my lateness both last week and this week, has made appear to be about as reliable as a suspension bridge made entirely of pizza crusts. The reason has of course been the treacherous scourge known as assignments, as well as the fact that last Wednesday, I was out at sea. Regardless, it is now business as usual!

 

“It’s similar to Derek, only with guns, trailers, and alcoholics in positions of questionable authority.”

 

As many will know, Ricky Gervais’ superb comedy “Derek” graced our screens yesterday with its series 3 debut. So to keep up the mockumentary style comedy for this week, I decided to see what America had to offer in such a field. It was here I discovered “Trailer Park Boys.”

 

At the moment I haven’t finished watching all seven seasons, so for now I can only really do a Quickpickle review of the first two seasons. TPB is a Canadian documentary comedy very similar in style to “Derek.” It focuses on the misadventures of a group of trailer park residents, some of whom are ex-convicts, living in the fictional Sunnyvale Trailer Park in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The episodes centre on protagonists Ricky, Julius and Bubbles, as they try to make money through various petty crimes. The crimes predominantly end in a complete cock-up (including one scenario during an armed robbery when they end up shooting each other instead of robbing the clerk.) Nevertheless, one quick look in their swag bag shows that they haven’t run off with money, but a bumper pack of crisps. Along with the bunch of misfits lies a vindictive trailer park supervisor named Jim Lahey, and his topless sidekick Randy (who refuses to wear a shirt.) Together the duo try by any means possible to throw a spanner into the works for Ricky and his gang.

 

As far as any mockumentary goes, this is definitely worth a watch. Episodes are varied and almost impossible to predict, with each episode loaded with memorable moments as the gang stop at nothing to make ends meet. As you watch your way through Tralier Park Boys, you’ll witness the team trying to make a homemade porno, change road names to divert cops from stealing their weed den, and high-speed pursuits ending in disaster due to a kitten. Whilst it may not focus so much on the emotional side of society as Gervais does, it safe to say It’s similar to Derek, only with guns, trailers, and alcoholics in positions of questionable authority.

 

Verdict

 

Whilst it’s early doors to say whether or not it gives Derek a run for its money, it most certainly shares a similar style (with more swearing and fights.) Trailer Parks Boys so far I have found to be a hilarious, unhinged, unpredictable comedy which I am eager to see much more of, and I can only recommend you check out.

 

4.5/5

 

Suits, more Rant less Review

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This week I fancied a change from the usual game review so have decided to have a little rant about one of my favourite television shows which recently finished its third season. If you haven’t guessed it by the title I am talking about the show Suits. Suits Is one of those shows that most people haven’t heard of or seen but those that have can’t sing its praises enough. Just to give you a brief synopsis Its about a guy named Mike who, while running from the police, stumbles into a job interview for one of the biggest law firms in New York. To hide from the police Mike pretends to be one of the candidates and sits in the interview where he really impresses Harvey Spectre by showing of his eidetic memory (Photographic memory) and gets hired, despite not attending law school the show follows the cases and life of Mike and Harvey as they try to not only make a shit ton of cash but also cover up Mike’s lie and avoid other complications in their firm.

Louis Litt at his most profound

Louis Litt at his most profound

The story lines of the show are brilliant and frequently have a sherlockesqueness (Yeah I just made up a word, what of it?) about them in the way that they get resolved, or sometimes don’t. Like all shows even though most episodes have their own plot there are also larger more complex sub -plots that eventually culminate in a few episodes in a row. Now some of the acting in the show isn’t exactly Oscar worthy, especially near the beginning, but it does pick up significantly as the show goes on with much more dynamic plots and also much more back story to a lot of characters.

The dialogue however is where I think this show really shines with nostalgic references and witty banter the show perfectly straddles drama and comedy which makes the pacing of the show near perfect in my opinion. It never feels that something is dragging on or maybe getting a bit too serious by seamlessly switching between tones. Mike and Harvey’s relationship epitomizes what the show is about and is such a joy to watch and will frequently have you both smiling and on the edge of your seat.

The characters themselves are something to behold each with their own quirks and traits that make them individuals. The relationships of the characters is fantastic and their interactions feel real and genuine and a lot of the time you will forget that the people you are watching are actors rather than the people they are playing. Harvey is conveyed mostly as an egotistical pig who hates to lose but he also has an unshakable moral grounding which makes for a really interesting character to watch especially when he needs reminding of himself from his secretary Donna (who by the way is my joint favourite character up alongside Harvey’s rival/best friend/I don’t know what they are anymore Louis Litt) who is acts mostly as Harvey’s conscious and guardian angel.

Donna telling it like it is.

Donna telling it like it is.

Im trying not to spoil anything for anyone that hasn’t watched it So I will try to be as vague as possible but there is something that the fans of the show will all be thinking about and that is the ending of series three. Despite being a huge bombshell moment it gives a nod to the first episode by directly referencing one of the first conversations between Harvey and Mike which I think was a genius move as it shows fans that they do know what they’re doing and that things won’t change as much as we worry they might. I actually like the new direction that they are going to try and after reading through interviews with the show’s creator Aaron Korsh my mind has been put at ease on some of the worries that I did have and I think it will allow for the show to have a longer life span  on our televisions than had they not done it.

Anyway that’s all from me and my opinions on the show, leave a comment with your opinion on the series and please like and share the page with all your friends! Thanks for reading.

 

You're damn right Harvey!

You’re damn right Harvey!

 

 

-Joe

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (novel) – review

Up until now, I’ve only been reviewing television shows on here, and while I love writing about the incredible programmes that grace our screens, I think a book review is long overdue. Written by Stephen Chbosky and published in 1999, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a compelling novel about a young boy trying to muddle his way through school, life, and love. I chose to write about this story for my first book review because it holds great meaning for me. While I often find myself becoming emotionally involved with many books that I read, this one really got inside my head in a way that others haven’t – it altered my way of thinking in a very positive way and I found it to be incredibly inspiring and moving, and it has now become one of my most treasured novels.

A definitively outstanding aspect of ‘Perks’ is its composition – it is transcribed in such an excellent way, with Chbosky going for the classic ‘journal’ layout, having the entire book being ‘written’ by the protagonist, Charlie, as a series of letters to an anonymous friend. The first-person narrative provides fascinating insight into Charlie’s teenage mind, thus allowing us to get an exceedingly firm grasp on his feelings and opinions, helping the reader to connect more with the character and empathise with the struggles he goes through. We get a very private, and at times unsettling, view into how Charlie’s experiences have shaped him into the person he is, and, on occasion, the tone of the novel hovers between refreshingly frank and painfully honest as we see Charlie battle the demons inside his head while also trying to deal with the stresses of starting high school and making friends.

In his letters, he vocalises his worries about people disliking him and thinking that he’s ‘weird’ but he admits to keeping quiet about these fears when asked about it by his parents – his aversion to attention then carries over into his interactions at school, thus earning him the title of ‘wallflower’.  However, the book manages to steer clear of sounding pretentious or angsty when delving into sensitive areas such as these, and deals with everything in a way that is tactile and careful, while still retaining the feeling of ‘realness’.

A particularly poignant scene from the movie adaptation of the same name.

A particularly poignant scene from the movie adaptation of the same name.

In terms of the actual writing itself, Chbosky has written the character of Charlie brilliantly, giving him a naïve sort of innocence that the reader can’t help but love; though his attempts at being what he deems ‘normal’ are sometimes misguided and often backfire, we can see that Charlie is simply a conflicted young man who is trying to figure out life just like a lot of people. This makes him likeable and easy to relate to as a main character, which I believe effectively spurs the reader on to cheer for him as the underdog.

The other characters are also brilliantly written, each with their own individual quirks and traits that become apparent when they each meet Charlie – while he begins the story as a frightened young boy who has been through a lot of hardship in the past, he starts his first year of high school and he soon discovers that life can actually be fun after he befriends Sam and Patrick, two students who are in the year above him, along with their eclectic group of friends. This then leads on to many first experiences for young Charlie – first kiss, first drink, first time having sex – some facets of the hedonistic lifestyle that some teenagers dream about. The character of Sam in particular is key in Charlie’s journey into maturity, as she is essentially his gateway into the world of ‘firsts’ – she is his first love, and seeing his feelings described so openly in his letters gives everything a certain rawness that is both addictive and entirely heart-breaking. Another character that holds a lot of weight throughout the novel is the aforementioned Patrick, who happens to be Sam’s stepbrother. Patrick experiences his own troubles throughout the story, his main concern being that the boy he is in love with is deeply in the closet and doesn’t want anyone to know about their relationship for fear of retaliation. This impacts Charlie because when tension arises between Patrick and his secret lover [Brad], Charlie soon begins to learn that having friends means he cannot hide himself away anymore, especially when his friends may require his help.

But don’t be swayed by the possibly familiar-sounding tropes and themes of this novel – this isn’t simply a typical coming-of-age story about a teenage boy at school. From the moment it begins, ‘Perks’ touches on some very sensitive topics, including abuse, bullying, and social ostracism. Each aspect is written respectfully, and Chbosky ensures that themes of a serious nature, like depression and mental health issues, are in no way glamourised [as is often seen in the media of today] or treated as less important than they are, something which I wholeheartedly appreciate.

Although the book deals with some heavy subjects, it ultimately ends on more of a high than a low note. The ending itself is bittersweet – while Charlie is still struggling to overcome the fear and pain lingering in his mind, he realises that he doesn’t have to do it alone anymore and can see hope on the horizon. I felt this to be an extremely stirring way to end the novel, and I’ve found that it has helped me to persevere whenever I’ve come across an obstacle that I thought I couldn’t overcome. With a well of beautiful and intricate quotes peppered throughout –

We accept the love we think we deserve.

There’s nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons.

And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.

– ‘Perks’ is a stunning read, and is an inspirational tale with some truly wonderful moments to behold. So, if you’re ever in a book shop and you see it on a shelf, buy it and take it home – snuggle up on the sofa with a hot drink and a blanket, and immerse yourself in the brilliance that is The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

love always

*Side note: The movie adaptation is fantastic too, with a stellar soundtrack featuring the likes of David Bowie, The Smiths, and the classic ‘Come On Eileen’, by Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Go check it out!

5/5 – There are not enough words to express my adoration for this novel.

~Steph.

A Quickpickle on More Books!

Just a Quickie from me today, I’m afraid, even though it’s late AGAIN. Gimme a break, I’m sick.

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Recently I became invested in a new book trilogy, Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The first book goes by the same name, the second is Days of Blood and Starlight, and the third and final is Dreams of Gods and Monsters. I don’t want to give much away as I plan to fully review Dreams of Gods and Monsters next Monday, but this series has pulled me in like no other has for many years. We see two worlds throughout the books, earth and our nearest ‘neighbour’ in the next universe over, inhabited by the seemingly monstrous chimaera, a race made up of many tribes of people who are all mixtures of different animals – we see centaur chimaera, sphinxes, griffins, mostly human appearances with mixes of beast aspects such as gazelle, rams, wolves, even snakes! The chimaera and their variety is amazing.
Then there are the other inhabitants of that world, the ones who enslave and are at war with the chimaera. I know that dozens of books claim that their angels are ‘special’ and unique in recent years, but these angels, the Seraph, truly are in my eyes. They’re vicious, domineering, destructive and as we see more of them we realise how similar many of them are to the chimaera. Suddenly, somewhere around mid-book two, I realised I didn’t see them as this great enemy to destroy anymore, for all their atrocities against the chimaera. Likewise, some of the chimaera were too caught up in their war to even see the right choices any more, and have become the evil they were fighting to destroy.
At the centre of this war, we have Karou, a human girl raised by the chimaera Brimstone, a secretive monster who gives out magical wishes in exchange for teeth. She has only ever seen Brimstone’s ‘shop’ in the other world, and has grown up on earth feeling somewhat lost as the chimaera’s errand girl – there’s a particularly amusing scene in book one where we see Karou dragging elephant tusks across Paris.
And at her side, across the battlefield, and at times worlds away, is Akiva, an angel soldier seeking revenge for a lost love and trying to leave behind the dreams of a new world he and his lover once hand. Something that becomes near-impossible when he meets the mysterious errand girl who wished her hair blue.
Anyway, I’ll be reviewing the final book next week, so be sure to check back then!

– Meg

Raid 2: Review

 

 

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Directed by Gareth Evans

 

“If you like a film with action and serious ass kicking, you’ve come to the right place.”

 

Apologies for the delayed review, but I thought it best to wait, and watch Gareth Evans’s heart pounding “Raid” sequel at my local cinema.

 

For those who have seen the first Raid film will already know of the Indonesian martial arts action film. The first thing to mind will be the close quarters, corridor to corridor, adrenaline filled chaos. And this is by no means diluted in the sequel. In short, if you like a film with action and serious ass kicking, you’ve come to the right place.

 

Whereas the first film had great fights and martial art scenes in it, the actual story fell somewhat short and ended up being a chuck away sideline. It acted as just an excuse to grab a high-powered rifle and shoot some people in the face. This issue has definitely been addressed within the majority of Raid 2. The story is set in the aftermath of the first film, with our favourite win chun expert “Rama” being sent undercover, to find and root out both criminals and corrupt police officers working with the biggest crime lords In the city. Throughout, there is deception, betrayal, hardship and more blood spraying out of people than you can shake a stick at. Whilst there is much more of a story arc present thus addressing the issues in the first film, there are still issues. At numerous points when watching I did find myself scratching my head wondering what on earth was going on as new characters seem to just appear from nowhere, hell bent on killing random people in the film. For the most however, these confusions iron out and become clear as the film progresses towards the final grand conflict. Even so, a few confusions are still apparent for some way into the movie, as they reintroduce people from the first films that were killed, but they play different characters in the sequel. Consequently it does take a good few minutes to adjust, but this has probably happened, as there aren’t a great deal many actors with black belts and first dans at Hollywood’s disposal. Doubts are also cast over the films rather abrupt ending.

 

But now for why you would choose to see the film in the first place, the action. And oh my God it’s good. The combat in the whole film is fluid and tangible. The hand to hand is awesome, and the gore is fruitfully satisfying and abundant. Put it this way, if you are a woman who is turned on by men fighting and destroying everything in their path, then this flick will send your flaps into overdrive. All the key stars in the film are martial art experts in real life, who put on a great show, especially when they fight each other. Many scenes have that moment where you scrunch your face and go “Awww” because the action on screen is just so stylish. The whole movie is much slicker than the first, and whilst the pace is slower in this film, you never find yourself getting bored and clock watching. The sequel branches out featuring car chases, high-octane gun fights as well as the franchises signature machete and knife conflicts.

 

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You wouldn’t want to get in the way of these two!

Verdict

 

Whilst there are still issues with story, the plot is much better developed than its predecessor. But for bloody hell sake, see the fights and action in Raid 2. It is likely to be the best this year.

 

4.5/5

 

– Luke H

 

NBC’s Hannibal – a review

“This is my design.”

Promo picture featuring Mads Mikkelsen [Dr Hannbibal Lecter].

Promo picture featuring Mads Mikkelsen [Dr Hannbibal Lecter].

Some of you may be familiar with this quote from the critically acclaimed NBC show, Hannibal, which aired its first episode last year. The show, which is adapted from the novel Red Dragon, follows FBI special agent Will Graham in his quest to expose the vicious and heinous crimes being carried out by the psychopathic cannibal, Dr Hannibal Lecter. But don’t let this nicely packaged synopsis fool you – the show certainly isn’t a simple cat-and-mouse game. It is full of twists and turns and has some of the most deliciously frustrating plotlines and cliff-hangers I’ve ever come across in the world of television.

Speaking of plotlines, Hannibal has some of the most compelling writing and structure I have ever seen – not only with the storylines and themes, but the script itself is a work of genius; innuendos, hidden clues, subtext, foreshadowing – all of this and more can be found woven into the strategically intricate words that are exchanged throughout the show. The efficacy of this tremendous writing boils down to two major components – the writers being the obvious one, but the actors then come a close second when it comes to doing the writing justice and delivering convincing performances. Hugh Dancy, who plays the autistic and empathetic Will Graham, delivers a spellbinding performance as the special agent, managing to tug at our heartstrings with his vulnerability and goodness, and then winning our support later on in the show when his desperate attempts to make people see the truth about Hannibal are thwarted time and time again. Also, he has a really big soft spot for animals, and he takes in dogs from the street and adopts them as his own and it’s the gosh darn cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

Will Graham and his dogs.

Will Graham and his dogs.

Will isn’t the only great protagonist in the show, however – I simply must take a moment to talk about Hannibal himself, played by the captivating Mads Mikkelsen. Never before have I seen such an arrogant and pretentious character played so well – and yet, I cannot seem to give him the amount of intense loathing that he deserves. Don’t get me wrong – I think his actions are utterly sick and deserving of punishment – but somehow, there is still a part of me that guiltily indulges in his grandeur and smugness; the way he almost mocks Will, teasing him with hints and throw-away lines that may seem meaningless but are in actual fact laced with more bait than a fisherman’s hook.

who's hungry

The characters of Will and Hannibal are flanked by a brilliant supporting cast, too – Jack Crawford, the head of behavioural sciences at the FBI, and his colleagues all make for a wonderful team, with some comic relief supplied by the forensics team, which ensures that the show isn’t too weighed down by the morbidity of it all.

I must take a moment here to really reinforce the brilliance of the storytelling throughout season one and what has been released of season two – never before has a show made me so utterly livid, to the point where I have had to scream into a pillow multiple times because I am so exasperated and tense and worried and GAH. This is part of what makes the show so addictive, though – once you get started, you simply cannot stop due to the burning desire to know what happens next.

Another winning aspect of NBC’s Hannibal is the technicality behind it all, and in particular, the cinematography – everything from the lighting to the most miniscule details in the background of a scene is all so purposeful and never without reason, and this not only makes Hannibal aesthetically pleasing, but also adds an air of cleverness to an already intelligent show, which only makes it all the more captivating.

Essentially, what I’m trying to say is that this is, by far, one of the most spectacular shows I have ever had the fortune to stumble across, and I think you should all put aside a few days and marathon season one and the current episodes of season two [perhaps with a friend for emotional support] – trust me, once you get a taste for this show, you’ll be craving it with an almost insatiable hunger.

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5/5 – Absolutely magnificent.

~Steph.

Something You Should All Go Do

This is a day late because I’m trash, but heigh-ho, whatcha gonna do!

This isn’t really a review or rant or anything, more like a fairly Quickpickle-ish post urging you to go read a certain series and why you should.

That series is Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, and has been one of my favourites for a long, long time. It’s about the wizard Harry – no, not that Harry. No, not that Harry either, dammit! – Dresden, a P.I. of sorts in Chicago. Though he goes more by ‘consulting wizard’ than ‘detective’. He’s even in the phonebook! Under ‘Wizard’, of course.

I have to get this out there; Butcher started off as a writing student who wrote a book to be an asshole, so he will always have a special place in my heart. He largely wrote fantasy (and has another series of that kind, Codex Alera, an impressive series on it’s own that sparked from a bet that he couldn’t write a book based on the ‘lame’ ideas presented to him. Those ideas were Pokemon and Lost Roman Legion. God bless this series) but was encouraged to write more like L.K. Hamilton because she was a pretty big deal then. He eventually decided to do it, but with a veritable truckload of salt. He chose to write the book like “some kind of formulaic, genre-writing drone” to prove how shitty that book would be. And he wrote the first book of The Dresden Files, ‘Storm Front’. And it is brilliant.

The series is fourteen books long, at present, with a few short stories and graphic novels thrown in for variety, and so the universe is far too extensive to fully get into in this one post, but wow. What a universe it is.

We’ve got rogue wizards and several flavours of vampire and werewolf, demons, fallen angels, warring Faerie courts, a perverted knowledge spirit living in a skull, Harley-riding lady cops, sassy apprentices, a zombie tyrannosaurus rex…

This world has it all. Name it and it’s been there, or it’s going to be. There’s a pattern to the enemies Dresden faces throughout the series, but still something new every book, a new threat or dirty move from his enemies, someone new to protect, someone trying to kill him.

The magic is awesome, the action is fast-paced and never lets you down, and the character is constantly a sympathetic one, even when he’s making stupid decisions. And he makes some really freaking stupid decisions.

I’m not going to drag this out, as I’ll just blather on for pages and pages about this series (it has a whole, huge RPG built around it, too!), so I’m going to just say read it! Maybe you’ll catch up in time for the newest book, ‘Skin Game’, which is released in May. For now, here’s the synopsis of the first book, maybe just to get you going.

STORM FRONT, JIM BUTCHER

Meet Harry Dresden, Chicago’s first (and only) Wizard P.I. Turns out the ‘everyday’ world is full of strange and magical things – and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in.

Harry is the best at what he does – and not just because he’s the only one who does it. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal capabilities, they look to him for answers. There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.

So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get . . . interesting.

Magic – it can get a guy killed.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Jim Butcher

– Meg

5 Early-Access games to watch out for (Joe)

For those of you who don’t know Early-Access games are games that aren’t finished or even in beta testing stage that you can buy and play while they are being developed. Some of you are thinking why the hell would I pay full price for an unfinished game? But there are a few perks for instance some developers might give extra incentive and content like concept art or soundtrack downloads etc. while there is still the obvious reason which is to help support the team making the game. Because of the huge growth of the Indie game genre more and more developers are looking to making their game early access to help not only cover cost but to get as much community feedback as possible so that fans can actively take a part in shaping a game.

I have always felt that reviewing early access games is a little unfair because game builds change so often and the developers even admit themselves that their games aren’t finished so instead of reviewing an Early-Access game I’m going to give you a list of 5 of them to keep a watch out for.

*Disclaimer: This isn’t a top 5 or my favourite 5 this is just a short list of potentially good games that I am excited to see when they are finished. I have not personally played/own all of the games listed but have done my fair share of research on each one.

prison

1)   Prison Architect. Prison architect does exactly what it says on the tin, you build and managed a simulated prison. Simple enough? Nope! There is so much to this game that is continually being added too that you will be kept entertained for hours. Not only re they always adding new features but it is also integrated with the Steam Workshop so there are also lots of mods available from already built prisons to re-skins and community bug fixes. For anyone who enjoys simulator games or management games this is the game for you.

Overgrowth

2)   Overgrowth. Overgrowth is a game that in premise sounds ridiculous but in practice plays amazing. It is currently an open sandbox game where players create their own levels and play and share them but it is scheduled to have a full campaign and many more features added before it is finished. You play as a ninja rabbit, yes a NINJA-RABBIT! Where you can free run, explore and fight either hand to hand or with weapons. Now even though the game is visually very appealing the real gold is in the combat system, it flows brilliantly and the impacts feel weighted and control very fluid.

Starbound-Logo-new

3)   Starbound. Now a lot of people have criticised Starbound for just copying Terraria but the game itself is a lot more than just that. The exploration and customization even in such an early stage is very good and I can’t wait to see it once they have fully fleshed out the story and added the features they have gone on record to say they are going to. They are currently overhauling the majority of the farming and building mechanics though so I can’t say that the final game will be anything like the current build but if its anything to go by it could be the next big indie game.

pixel piracy

4)   Pixel Piracy. Re-Logic, the creators of Terraria, are currently helping produce the game which looks set to forever change the face of pirate games. From fully customizable ships, pirate battles and even parrots this game tries to give the player the full pirate experience. With features like perma-death playing a major part in the game it seems reminiscent of other indie games such as FTL and rogue legacy but with a pirate theme. Currently the game is rather bare but still with enough features and content to keep you entertained but the reason this game makes my list is because of the mechanics they are trying to introduce in the future such as being able to find and loot your previous characters ship once they have died.

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5)   BroForce. Last but by no means least is the game that is in a rather finished state. BroForce looks to take everything we love about macho action movies and combine it all in to a game. Taking characters from all areas of Bro-dom, such as Brobo-Cop and Indiana Brones, and has players fight together to liberate each level from a devil type villain. Each Bro comes with his own weapons and style and the amount of characters and level of detail put into this game is truly astonishing. This is the kind of game that you and your friends can play while you drink a beer and just bond. It perfectly encapsulates the era of 80’s action movies even down to the kind of campness only the most muscle bound men could pull off.

 

Anyway that was my list of games to watch out for! Thanks for stopping by make sure to like, comment and subscribe and tell me what games you’re keeping an eye out for?

 

-Joe

Skins – a review

skins

This week I thought I would reach back a little and review something that isn’t as recent as the previous shows I’ve written about, but still holds its own in terms of how great a show it is. ‘Skins’ is a British drama that first aired on E4 back in 2007, and since then, it has had seven series stemming from it, with each pair of series dedicated to a different group of teenagers who experience love, loss, heartbreak, angst, and everything in-between, all while trying to get through college and receive an education. Many people have mixed feelings about Skins – some say that it was a ground-breaking show that paved the way for more daring story lines on TV with more impact and relevance, while others think it is simply a show that glorifies teenage hedonism and recklessness. I myself am in total agreement with the first group of people – I see Skins as a show that rocked the world of television by being controversial and, ultimately, brave, both with its portrayal of characters and the story lines involved in each season.

Top - Generation 1 as seen in series 1 & 2. Bottom - Generation 2 as seen in series 3 & 4.

Top – Generation 1 as seen in series 1 & 2.
Bottom – Generation 2 as seen in series 3 & 4.

Like with any other television show, some aspects of Skins can be a little over-exaggerated – like the heavy drug taking some characters partake in on a regular basis – however, these little blips are greatly overshadowed by the show’s poignant plots and the plights of the characters involved. One of the main storylines that has really shone through since Skins ended involved the first proper lesbian relationship to be seen on the show [unfortunately, Cassie’s momentary lapse into the world of sapphic exploration during series 2 does not count]. Naomi and Emily are revered in the LGBT community because their relationship – which goes from disliking each other to having an awkward friendship to falling hopelessly in love with one another – was refreshingly honest during a time when queer representation in the media was still few and far between. Their interactions are real and believable – from drunken first kisses to eventual arguments about infidelity, their relationship was a beacon for any young gay girls who may have been struggling with accepting who they were and not being ashamed of it.

Emily [Kathryn Prescott] and Naomi [Lily Loveless].

Emily [Kathryn Prescott] and Naomi [Lily Loveless].

These two aren’t the only gay characters on the show, mind you – series 1 has one of the best gay characters ever seen on Skins, this being Maxxie, who has to not only deal with homophobia from ignorant boys who live in his neighborhood, but also has to wade through the sticky mess of being best friends with Anwar, a Muslim who finds it difficult to accept Maxxie because his sexuality clashes with Anwar’s religious beliefs. Their friendship – and Anwar’s eventual acceptance of Maxxie regardless of his sexual orientation – is yet another reason why Skins is like a breath of fresh air for British TV, even today.

Aside from the fantastic LGBT representation – which extends over all seven seasons – there are plenty of other story arcs and themes running through Skins that cannot be ignored. Mental health is a prominent story line, and is especially moving with Effy, a character who starts off as minor in series 1 but then becomes a main protagonist in series 3 and 4. Series 4 shows Effy progressing into her late teenage years, and we see her begin to suffer from severe psychosis and manic episodes of depression and euphoria, which is both raw and engaging, in terms of the acting and the story itself. Other forms of mental imbalance are also explored, with JJ, again a character from Series 3 and 4, who is autistic and suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. We see him go through bouts of rage and panic brought on by his autism, and coupled with his reactions to things and how his friends help him cope, it makes for a moving and intense narrative.

Along with sexuality and mental health, Skins covers numerous other social issues that many teenagers face, like relationships, dysfunctional families, eating disorders, substance abuse, and dealing with death. All of this and more makes it not only a riveting and enticing show, but also makes it important in the ways that it can educate people and maybe even help them, while still maintaining humour throughout the show with many moments of complete and utter hilarity.

Skins is an exciting journey for anyone who elects to watch it, and while certain series weren’t as well-received as the others – *cough* series 5 and 6 *cough* – I still believe that it is a brilliant show overall and that watching it is definitely something that you should consider if you haven’t done so already.

5/5 – honestly one of the greatest shows to ever come out of British TV.

~Steph.

Snakes: Mankind Has Found A New Enemy- Review

If you see this picture in stores (for F**K sake burn it.)

If you see this picture in stores (for F**K sake burn it.)

Snakes: Mankind has a new enemy-Review

Directed By Phillip Roth

 

“Watching this film is a bit like contracting herpes, no sod wants to.”

 

There are many painful things one can be subject to in this life. Things such as stepping on a plug, eardrum piercing injections, or being violated by a 60-year-old hooker wearing a leather studded strap-on. All, I’m sure, are unpleasant experiences. However, even such harrowing activities are but a picnic, when compared to watching this abomination of a film. I’m a student writer, and would like to think that I have a good few words at my disposal, but I am yet to even fabricate the phrases needed to describe this stratospherically appalling film. If you type the title of this film into Google, you will receive literally no results. There is not one trailer, movie review or profile about it. Not even a film screenshot. You see, this film is about as welcome in the cinema industry, as a sex offender is in a Primary school. Even IMDB wont touch it, that’s just how bad this movie is. Take it from me when I say this, Snakes isn’t a film that’s so bad it’s good it really is just bad. I wouldn’t wish this film on my worst enemy. Not even Piers Morgan.

 

Watching this film is a bit like contracting herpes, no sod wants to. Yet still, I did manage to finish the movie that, even whilst drunk, is a challenge not to walk away from. So here are what I believe to be the biggest of many reasons, as to why this film makes the latest Die Hard film look nothing short of a masterpiece.

 

Firstly the title. The movie is called “Snakes” which is plural and implies that there are many snakes that threaten mankind. There aren’t. In fact the story focuses on one giant genetically modified snake, which has broken loose in a military facility and is eating all and sundry. With a story like this you know you’re not going to get Shawshank Redemption, but they could’ve at least got the title right. I think it says a lot about the brains behind the operation of the movie, as well as the company who gave such a film the go-ahead. The director must have been a genius, managing to pitch this fecal specimen of a movie to a board who turned to the director and said, “Yes this is going to be a good film. Here is some money.”

 

The story. As already mentioned, it is a simple plot concerning a giant GM snake that wreaks havoc in a military base. How did it get there? By a military aircraft getting shot down, and the snakes container being carried off for research. The snake is let loose and it kills everyone. A small group of survivors made up of a few soldiers, a clever scientist, and a hot woman with no real purpose being there, try to kill the snake (I know right? It’s so original..) In the end all but the scientist and hot woman with no real purpose being there, manage to kill the snake and the film abruptly ends, which comes as something of a relief. Now I know I have just spoilt the film, by disclosing the ending, but you really should thank me. I’ve saved you from an hour and a half of woeful torment, bad acting and hideous hideous special effects. You now have an hour and a half of life with which you can achieve great things, whereas I have squandered my share. Think of what I could’ve done with that time. Started a novel, written a poem, gone out and met the woman of my dreams, I could’ve had a fantastic wank, or visited my relatives. No. Instead I watched Mankind’s real enemy, and it turns out to be in the form of a DVD.

 

CGI. The computer-animated special effects were so wretched; they made old footage of Hitler’s speeches look cutting edge. The snake itself looks like it has come from those old snes consoles. It looks even worse when it attacks people, looking about as convincing as Josef Fritzl’s defense lawyer. These bad graphics also have a determent effect on the continuity in the film. In one scene where the container is opened and the snake is let loose (because for some reason they thought that it was a good idea,) you can’t help but notice the container is far smaller than the size of the snake. One can only presume the container is a sort of Tardis. Regardless, inaccuracies like these are abundant.

 

The acting throughout the film is, surprise surprise, dreadful. Mind you, it isn’t really their fault when the people writing for their characters cant even get the name of the film right. The military crew is dull and uninteresting, the scientist is irritating, and the hot woman with no real purpose being there adds nothing to the story. Not even in the cliché way of love interest. She isn’t even really attractive, lets face it, if you found out that the actress you were talking to starred in this bollocks, you’d avoid her like the plague for having such terrible judgment.

 

Verdict

 

Do I really need a verdict? Probably not, I think I’ve made my point so I’ll conclude with this-

 

If you see this film in stores don’t even hesitate, just run. Leave the kids behind it’s too late for them, they’ll fend for themselves. I can’t possibly stress enough how bad this film is. If I were forced to choose between being violated by an STI ridden 60yr old hooker and her studded strap-on, or watch this film again, my pants would be down my ankles before you could say, “anal bleaching.”

 

-220,678,000 kelvin/5

(I know Kelvin is to do with temperature but I needed something to emphasise how low the score is for this dire piece of hell.)

 

More evidence of just how hideous this film is can be found on the reverse cover (If you dare to even pick it up in public.)

More evidence of just how hideous this film is can be found on the reverse cover (If you dare to even pick it up in public.)