New science fiction film alert!
I say ‘new’, what I mean is: ‘Tom Cruise does Source Code with Aliens’.
But damn, dat soundtrack…
‘This is not… the end’
New science fiction film alert!
I say ‘new’, what I mean is: ‘Tom Cruise does Source Code with Aliens’.
But damn, dat soundtrack…
‘This is not… the end’
Technically, it was the illy university but hey…
image via TikiChris
Last week, thanks to the lovely people at Espresso Crazy, I was invited along to the illy university of coffee to learn about (and taste!) the amazing coffee available from illy – and it was pretty darn awesome.
– I got an apron and everything –
For those that don’t know (I know I didn’t) illy runs its own barista training class over in London’s Islington Business Centre, near Angel. Here, they hammer into the new recruits exactly how to make the perfect cup of illy coffee and here is where we were all to meet.
Things we learnt:
Joking aside, the guys from Espresso Crazy were kind enough to not only throw us each an illy X7.1 (which I obviously had to unbox on Vine – so cool) but also gave me a link offering any of you lovely lot 20% off any purchases from Espresso Crazy* (head to http://www.espressocrazy.com/
I’m sure you’ll agree, all of this is yet again pretty darn nice of them.
Finally, the X7.1 (maybe do something about that name guys? how about ‘amazing coffee maker of win’? yeah, that’d do it) is a bloody fantastic little machine. I’m using it pretty much every day, AND I’m making proper latte milk with the whoosher** too.
Now, where did I put that apron…
*The discount covers new machines and coffee. It will allow a max of 3 items per order and will expire 10 January 2014.
**Am pretty sure it’s called a steamer, but I prefer whoosher.
You know the rules: no spoilers.
How can I describe GRAVITY to you?
Gravity is 91mins of the tensest cinema you’ve ever seen.
Gravity is just about on the cusp of believability.
Gravity is a must-see in IMAX 3D (both, if not either).
Gravity is Sandra Bullock’s best film in years.
Gravity is beautiful.
Gravity is stunning.
Gravity brings you closer to space.
Gravity had me literally on the edge of my seat for nearly the entire length of the film.
Gravity is achingly painful.
Gravity is non-stop.
Gravity pulls no punches.
Gravity makes you hold your breath, bite your nails, and cling on for dear life.
Gravity is unflinching.
Gravity is incredible.
Gravity is mesmerising.
Gravity is not the best film you’ll see this year.
But Gravity is the next film you should see this year.
“Hold on. Listen to my voice. Hold on to something. Hold on.”
Filed under: Things that make me go ‘Meh’
This past weekend I had a couple of free tickets to go and see Ender’s Game (EG). I love a bit of sci-fi and, given that I’d booked Gravity (review imminent) for Sunday, I figured I’d make it a space-based double bill and see EG on the Saturday.
First: here’s a pretty good reason why you shouldn’t see this film.
— Terence Eden (@edent) November 9, 2013
The number one reason why you should not see this film is because if you see this film, the studio, Lionsgate, may go ahead and make sequels. If that happens, then more money goes to the author of Ender’s Game, and extreme homophobe, Orson Scott Card. It is a sad state of affairs when the beliefs of an author get in the way of enjoying and/or recommending a film. But it is what it is, and I can’t change what I believe – or the way I feel.
For what it’s worth, Lionsgate gate have said that it is ‘undecided‘ on whether they’ll move ahead with any sequels. So let’s keep it that way and hope that Ender’s Game disappears (like the proposed follow ups to The Golden Compass and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe).
Second: here’s another pretty good reason you shouldn’t see this film.
Yes, there are some decent strategy moments, and yes the character of Ender is enjoyably smart. But plot hole after plot hole after plot hole – combined with some of the most diabolical acting I’ve seen on screen, ever – makes EG an absolute waste of time and money. I sat there wishing I’d read the books instead.
When I was in Edinburgh earlier this year, my friend would often say (after seeing particularly bad theatre): ‘Why did they bother?’ – not to be facetious or mean, but a genuine question: Why bother? Why did you bother doing it? Surely you must see that there isn’t much substance to this? What on Earth made you do this?
That’s how I felt about Ender’s Game.
I don’t know why they bothered.
See what I did there?
Last week, a friend of a friend at Google invited me along to find out how Google will change the future. The pitch?
Let’s face it, we’re all busy. Whether you’re plotting the fastest public transport route across London, trying to order a drink in Paris en Français, or cheating at a pub quiz, Google is there to help you get the information you need. Fast. We’d like to invite you to Google House, where you’ll see first-hand how Google can help make the lives of you and your customers easier.
And they weren’t wrong. But first, let’s take look awesome #GoogleHouse is (or was).
The Teenager Bedroom
The Living Room
Basically, this beautiful four storey house in London’s Fitzrovia was turned into a Googley-fied house of the future.
And it was awesome.
Obligatory ‘Whatley wearing Google Glass’ photo.
Three things I learnt:
Overall? I had a LOT of fun and it’s great to see Google step up their game in the consumer-facing market here in the UK.
Long may it continue.
PS. Big love to the amazing guys over at the Sorted Food. They ran the Google/Kitchen demo and I’ve been watching their videos ever since. Check them out.
PPS. More photos over on Google+ (natch).
This gamer has made up his mind.
[image via Tech Radar]
Back in the day, I was always a Nintendo fan. My first console was the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the NES and after that, the SNES. Then came the N64 (my first ever release day console purchase – man that thing was expensive). Many a day and night was spent Mario Karting with friends on that baby.
After that, I owned a GameCube [and came extremely close to picking up a Panasonic Q, but that's another story]. At some point after this, I fell down some stairs and was bed-ridden for a fortnight. It was during this time that I was lent an original Xbox along with a copies of Halo and Burnout: Vengeance. I’d followed the Burnout serious on the GameCube but the Xbox sequels were immense. I could feel a change coming but it was not coming any time soon as, at some point later, the Nintendo fan in me bought a Wii.
But something was missing. Yes I had Zelda and Mario and Resident Evil 4. But I wanted more. I wanted proper online play. I wanted something in high definition. My friend Roger had just got an Xbox 360 and so now I wanted an Xbox 360 purely so she and I could play together.
Six months or so later, towards the end of 2008 my friend Josh gave me his Xbox 360. I fell in love, and all was awesome. I’ve been an Xbox-er ever since.
I have never owned a PlayStation.
But this year, I think that’s going to change.
When the Xbox One was announced back in May of this year, there was a big hoo-hah around how it would become the media centre for the front room. The TV integration, the awesome new Kinect 2.0, everything about it meant that this little baby would be the only thing we’d ever need.
Then… it ran into a little trouble.
First the machine wouldn’t let you lend games to your friends (not in the traditional sense at least) without paying for it, then it had to ‘check in’ online every 24hrs. Then, in the face of huge negative reaction, Microsoft cancelled all that, but then the Kinect would be ‘spying’ on your every move, and then Microsoft had to clarify on that too.
Even after all that PR pain, I was still leaning towards getting an Xbox One. I love my 360, and I love my Kinect too (yes, I really do use the voice activation stuff). The deal-maker for me would’ve been if Microsoft launched the One in the UK with Sky TV as a partner. I’m a Sky subscriber and having the Xbox work well with that, in the same way that it worked in the US partners, well it’d make the whole ‘TV’ thing worth it.
I’ve got friends in the gaming industry, and I know a few reviewers too. Word was leaking: the One is a pain to develop for. The PS4 is a dream. The One doesn’t have ANY media partners at launch. Whispers became louder… and then came the Eurogamer Expo.
The Eurogamer event at London’s Olympia back in September offered up a chance to play the latest games on the latest systems. Geeks among nerds, my friend Matt and I ventured forth. I played Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag (AC:IV) on the PS4 and Killer Instinct on the One. The former impressed, the latter did not.
In the pub afterwards, more PS4 rumours were afoot. A quick show of hands of the group we were chatting to proved that pretty much everyone was getting a PS4 first and then waiting to see if the One was going to improve after. But by then, it might be too late.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is the latest mega title to be released in the COD series. Due to the differences in the operating systems between the One and the PS4, the former can only run the game at 720p (the latter hitting full 1080p). Deal breaker?
For some? Definitely.
For me? Maybe.
Last night I went along to the #XboxOneTour, an invitation only event where – similarly to Eurogamer – you got to play the latest titles on newest system, but with the obvious focus on the Xbox One. I got hands on time with Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct (again), Ryse, and Forza. They also had FIFA 14, Battlefield 4, and some Kinect stuff too but none of that interests me. I must admit, I was surprisingly impressed with Ryse as up until yesterday I thought it looked, and therefore was, rubbish.
Dead Rising 3 was fairly meh, Killer Instinct looks great, but is fundamentally still Killer Instinct at its core, and Forza? I just don’t get Forza. I left feeling quite underwhelmed (not least because the 5pm-10pm slot actually meant ‘turn up at 5pm and stand outside in the freezing cold until 5:30pm’, or because of any every day sexism – not just because of that) mainly because I just expected more.
I really wanted the Xbox One to blow me away and it didn’t. At all.
I played AC:IV for 15mins on the PS4 back in September, and that did more for me than any amount of Xbox One propaganda ever could. It’s a shame. But I’m a gamer, and therefore I want the best system for games. My gamer buddies? They’ve made their mind up. Which means I have too: if I want the best gaming experience and I want to play online where my friends are – there’s only one choice.
I fancy a change.
I’m going to the dark side.
I’m getting a PlayStation 4.
UPDATE: Here’s a 30min podcast where a friend and I go into a bit more detail on what consoles we’re choosing and why.
No spoilers here… ‘No, thank you.’
I saw Thor: The Dark World (TTDW) recently, in 3D, at London’s BFI IMAX and, aside from a few inconsistencies, its looking like the house of M has yet another hit on its hands. As part of the more mythical part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Thor has a bit more freedom when it comes to realising the world(s) that Asgardians both live in and visit and, in this reviewer’s opinion, is a better franchise for it.
But there’s more to it than that.
In a post-Avengers world, it’s obviously prudent to have a good idea of where this story picks up from. With Loki, chief villain from both the first Thor film and last summer’s monster smash, Avengers Assemble, again front and centre in this norse god outing, I would strongly recommend seeing the aforementioned films first.
Oh yeah, that and the fact Loki pretty much snatches the film from right under Thor’s nose and completely makes it his own any and every time he’s on screen. Tom Hiddleston is having so much fun here and, somewhat surprisingly, brings an emotional depth to Loki that we’ve only seen glimpses of before. Damn, he’s good.
He’s not the only character who shines in TTDW either. Almost everyone we met the first time around gets to grow in their own way. From Sif’s subtle intentions (and subsequent jealously, equally subtle – nicely done, Jaimie Alexander) around being Thor’s one and only, to Idris Elba getting his badass on as the all-seeing guardian of the Rainbow
Road Bridge, Heimdall. Both of Thor’s parents get their own respective arcs too, with Rene Russo flexing both her emotional (and literal) muscles as Queen Frigga, and Sir Anthony Hopkins by her side, as Odin, bringing the gravitas that only the All Father of the nine realms should have.
And the new faces, what of them?
Well, both Christopher Eccleston and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, are barely recognisable as the leaders (first and second in command respectively) of TTDW’s main antagonists, The Dark Elves.
The latter even more so when he’s transformed into the nigh-indestructible beast known as Kurse. Easily beaten, these Elves are not – and Kurse is one formidable opponent for the eponymous man/god/alien. Moving back to Eccleston, I had read a fair bit about his character, Malekith, not being fully developed or not being explored enough but I have to disagree. Not all bad guys need to be made human, not all bad guys need to be given the bit of colour that almost gives them justification for their belief system, and ultimately their actions. Some bad guys just want stuff to be DARK AND NASTY. That’s what Malekith wants and that, combined with the way he chases that goal endlessly, makes him a pretty awesome evil doer, in my book anyway.
Where there’s evil, there must be good, and good is in good shape indeed with Chris Hemsworth stepping up to play Thor for the third time. The petulance has gone and we see a wiser, more thoughtful Thor who no longer falls for Loki’s tricks so easily and oft-leads with the upper hand, as opposed to rushing in and fighting from a disadvantage. It’s a healthy change, and Good Character Development is always nice to see. Seeing him finally lock eyes with Jane Foster (a hardly-stretched Natalie Portman) is great, and you can tell that they’re meant to be. Aww.
If I had to draw negatives it would be only in two ways. First, with Portman finally making it to Asgard, being dressed like the locals, and getting to spend time with Thor – it all feels a little bit a Padme/Star Wars Episode II. And I’m not kidding when I say that is a very bad thing. It only happened a couple of times, but it grated.
The other thing would be tonality.
Let’s get one thing absolutely clear: TTDW is funny. Laugh out loud hilarious even, at some points. But the juxtaposition of that against the backdrop of some truly darker moments sometimes can be quite jarring. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tough gig trying to maintain lightness amongst the dark – and the original Thor had its fair share of good laughs – but sometimes it felt like TTDW couldn’t make its mind up. Like I said, if I had to draw negatives. Those would be the two that I would choose.
Is it worth seeing in 3D? I don’t think so. But do try and see it an IMAX because honestly, there’s no better cinematic experience than seeing a film like Thor ON THE BIGGEST SCREEN POSSIBLE.
Overall, Thor: The Dark World is an enjoyable ride, and definitely worth seeing at the cinema. So go and do that at your earliest opportunity.
PS. There are TWO post-credits sequences. One midway through, and one right at the end. One of them is a now-typical Marvel teaser sign post, the other is just for laughs… You’ll love them both.
PPS. TTDW has the best post-avengers cameo, ever. I’ve not seen it leaked anywhere so when you see the film, be a good geek and don’t ruin it for anyone by yabbing about it afterwards. Skills.