Massive Round Up: I LOVE rating stuff

I’m going to blast through the last five weeks and do a round up of books, films and activities I’ve enjoyed (or not enjoyed) and rate them all. I handed in Book 2 of The Voices series to my publishers on 19th September, so I’ve spent at a good couple of weeks catching up on stuff. So, here we go.

FILMS

Kubo and the Two Strings

This is a stop-motion animated dream come true. It is so, so beautiful to watch, it’s a pleasure to simply sit back and bask in its visuals. The voice acting is top-notch, too, with the likes of Charlize Theron, Matthew McConohonoghey (or however you spell it) and little Rickon Stark doing the honours. The story, however, suffers a little from unexplained motivations – I’m still not sure if the Moon King wanted to kill Kubo, steal his eye and leave him on earth, or take him back up to the stars with him to join the family. Despite that, I’d recommend it anyways. The scene with the giant skeleton took 19months to film!

GXT Rating: 7.5/10

The Magnificent Seven

Anyone who knows me, knows I like guns, and, believe me, there are a hell of a lot of guns in this. Denzel Washington is as charismatic as ever. Chris Pratt does his usual cheeky jokester schtick (and looks mighty fine while doing it), but the rest of the cast is woefully under-utilised (most notably Ethan Hawke – who gets better and better the more he ages – and Byung-hun Lee, who I still can’t believe is forty-six). The problem with the film is there’s no heart. I didn’t care about any of them, or the village and its inhabitants they were supposed to helping. All the characters, except for Denzel’s, aren’t given enough screen time to flesh them out. It’s a shame. It could have been great.

GXT Rating: 6/10

The Girl with All the Gifts

Loved the book. Like, I mean, I loved it. However, I only liked the film. I wanted to be blown away by it – I’d seen Mike Carey talk at Fantasycon in September, which only heightened my sense of excitement – but, ultimately, it’s a cracking zombie flick, with a strong performance from newcomer Sennia Nanua (who plays the girl Melanie), and that’s it. It didn’t quite reach my massively lofty expectations.

GXT Rating: almost an 8/10 (the book is a 9/10)

The Program

This is the movie about Lance Armstrong. Do you remember it? It’s not new. But Ben Foster is an actor who I think isn’t appreciated enough. I’d watch him in most anything. (I missed Hell or High Water at the cinema, but will be catching it as soon as it’s out on Bluray.) He’s brilliant in everything, including that World of Warcraft movie (which I still think was a ball). Ben has an uncanny resemblance to Lance in this movie, which can be quite disconcerting at times. There are a couple of scenes where he’s truly mesmerising – he needs to get recognised more for his acting, if you ask me. I might email Hollywood about it when I have time.

Overall, this movie missed the punch. As much as it depicts Lance Armstrong as an asshole (which, from the articles I’ve read since, he certainly seems to be), the story ends when his lies about blood doping come to light. I’d have liked to see more of the fallout.

GXT Rating: 6/10

The Little Prince (Netflix)

What a gem of a movie! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I’d recommend everyone watch this. I loved every minute of it. And Jeff Bridges voices one of the main characters, and if that’s not encouragement enough, you need to go get your noggin checked. I’ve had a fine month for stop-motion animated films.

GXT Rating: 8/10

Kung Fury

I can’t remember if this is on Amazon Prime or Netflix, and I’m classing it as a movie even though it’s only thirty minutes long. AND IT’S MENTAL. Absolutely off its tits. And it’s hilarious because of that. It plays with every 80s convention you can think of: video games, cheesy action flicks (from Beverley Hills Cop to Police Story to Red Sonja), kung-fu action stars, you name it. Did I say it was mental? If you fancy something completely off-the-wall and different, give it a go.

GXT Rating: 7/10

Westworld (1973)

I re-watched this in preparation for the TV series that’s airing on Sky Atlantic. And man, Yul Brynner. What a legend. I could watch/listen to him all day. This film has dated, but it’s still a great watch. I forgot how long they hold onto that light-hearted, comedy feel to the movie before it all goes to complete and utter shit. Really, the darkness doesn’t hit until the final fifteen minutes or so, which remain the best for me (probably because Mr Brynner dominates).

GXT Rating: 7/10

TV SHOWS

Daredevil (Series Two)

Yes, yes. I’m late to the party, I know. I’m seven episodes in and it has moments of brilliance (the stairwell fight scene, Frank Castle talking about his daughter as he slumps against a tombstone, bleeding), but so far I’m finding it ooookay. I’m enjoying enough to keep going with it, but I do find my remote control finger itching to fast forward through the less entertaining bits. And I still haven’t made my mind up about Elektra. Is she just an awful actress or is it the character I don’t like? MAYBE IT’S BOTH.

GXT Rating (so far): 7.5/10

Westworld (HBO)

One episode in and I’m intrigued enough to be excited about episode two. I found the pilot a slow burner, but it’s so lovely to look at, and the acting is so compelling (particularly Louis Herthum and Evan Rachel Wood), I find I don’t mind that so much. And those last fifteen minutes were brilliant. That final shot! Wow. Loved it. I like how they’re inverting the roles a little, too, and we’re seeing a lot of it play out from the replicants’ (robots?) point of view.

GXT Rating so far: 8/10

Hooten & the Lady

No. Just no. Everything I wanted this show to be (a real life Uncharted with dashes of Indiana Jones) and it fails in every respect. Stereotypical characters, awful dialogue, predictable set-ups. I admit I only watched one episode, and maybe it’s improved, but this girl ain’t going back for more. And it has Jimmy Olsen in it from Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman! Hahaha!

GXT Rating: 4/10

Inside Amy Schumer (Season Four)

Continues to be hit and miss for me, but the Liam Neeson sketch at his own funeral parlour was hilarious. As was the Tampo tampons advert. YouTube them!

GXT Rating (so far): 8/10

Wolf Creek

Withholding judgement as I’m only one episode it, but it definitely has potential. John Jarratt as Mick (the Head-on-a-Stick serial killer) is always a delight in this role.

GXT Rating (so far): 7.5/10

Stranger Things

Everything that needs to be said about this series has already been said. I loved every second of it. Millie Bobby Brown (who plays Eleven) was a revelation. Can’t wait for season two. Like I literally cannot wait.

GXT Rating: 9/10

BOOKS

(I realise this is a paltry list compared to everything else, but I don’t tend to read much when I’m heavily into doing edits/revisions. Books either make me feel crap about my writing (because the author whose book I’m reading is so much better than me), or I unintentionally start absorbing ideas from them. Either way, not good.)

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp

The best supernatural novel I’ve read for a long time. It’s clever, disturbing, and very well written. Everything you want in a read. Highly recommended (but not for the easily scared).

GXT Rating: 8.5/10

LEGO Set Builds

Batman: Gotham City Cycle Chase (76053)

I’m glad I built this one first because the bikes are great (especially Batman’s) and the Harley Quinn minifigure is ace, but all three bikes in these two sets follow the same build pattern and the two bikes from this set are the less complicated of the three (see review below).

gotham-city-chase-lego-harley-quinn

GXT Rating: 7.5/10

Spider-Man: Ghost Rider Team-Up (76058)

Wow. The Ghost Rider bike in this set is AWESOME. They’ve done the flame effects so well and his minifigure head is epic. If I’d built this first, I’d have been slightly disappointed with Batman’s and Harley’s bikes, as they’re not as complex in their construction. Spider-Man and the Hobgoblin minifigures are cool, too, although I admittedly bought these sets for their motorbikes.

lego-spider-man-ghost-rider-team-up-set-76058-15-2

GXT Rating: 8.5/10

VIDEO GAMES (PS4)

Mad Max

If you love the world of Mad Max you really can’t go wrong with this game. It’s a sandbox set-up, so apart from having to unlock each area by working through the storyline missions, the whole beautifully brutal world is open to explore. The violence is wonderfully gory (I never get tired of harpooning a War Boy out of his car and then mowing him down, or performing a death move by jamming a chiv into someone’s neck or gut-shooting them with my sawn-off shotgun), which makes it definitely for adults only. My only complaint with this game, which so often happens with sandbox worlds, is the inevitable grind it becomes. You have to complete a certain number of side missions, etc., before you can continue, and a lot of them involve find and collect tasks. It’s a chore.

GXT Rating: 7.5/10 (almost an 8)

Child of Light (PSN)

I downloaded this (which took approximately six hours due to my crappy internet speed) because it cost me £3.99 in the PlayStation Store. It is a stunning game, graphically speaking, and its mechanics are really well done. I’m not a huge fan of turn-based fighting, but this does it very cleverly. For me, and this is a personal thing, I do eventually get tired of these types of fights. And you have to do them because otherwise your stats don’t improve. And you know what happens then? I die in an embarrassingly easy manner when I get to the compulsory boss battles at the end of each level. It’s frustrating.

GXT Rating: 7/10 (9/10 for graphics)

LEGO Dimensions

I bought this for my nieces. Okay, okay, I bought it for me, too. It’s an ingenious idea (I’ve played Disney Infinity so I’m familiar with the set-up) and LEGO know how to use product placement in the best way. What makes this stand out from the other similar systems on the market is its ability to integrate on-screen gameplay with real-life LEGO building. I loved this aspect of it. And being able to move little minifigures and their vehicles on and off the play field never gets old.

GXT Rating: 8.5/10

This blog post. Rating: 7.666recurring/10

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s