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The Fisher King 30-40% Off At AmazonI was actually not that big a fan of Robin Williams comedy. His frenetic style and tv persona was a turn off for me.On the other hand I enjoyed him a lot in some of his more serious acting roles. One particular standout for me is the Terry Gilliam directed movie The Fisher King which Robin Williams co-starred in with Jeff Bridges.If you haven’t seen it you should and if you have seen it, you should own it.The Fisher King - http://amzn.to/1sQmAHPhttp://click-to-read-mo.re/p/93tA/53f9df23
Aug 29, 2014

The Fisher King 30-40% Off At Amazon

I was actually not that big a fan of Robin Williams comedy. His frenetic style and tv persona was a turn off for me.

On the other hand I enjoyed him a lot in some of his more serious acting roles. One particular standout for me is the Terry Gilliam directed movie The Fisher King which Robin Williams co-starred in with Jeff Bridges.

If you haven’t seen it you should and if you have seen it, you should own it.

The Fisher King - http://amzn.to/1sQmAHP

http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/93tA/53f9df23

Journey To The WestI was introduced to the characters and story of Journey To The West via the tv show Monkey back in the early 80s. It’s a very broad and loose adaptation, but it has lead to a life long fondness for these characters.So this artwork Protect Our Master!! by Wen Juinn just hits all the right notes.I love his interpretations of Monkey and Pigsy in the foreground here and the way that Monkey’s staff is bending slightly with the force of his blows.http://poibuts.deviantart.com/art/Protect-Our-Master-471547831http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/93kO/53f9df23
Aug 29, 2014

Journey To The West

I was introduced to the characters and story of Journey To The West via the tv show Monkey back in the early 80s. It’s a very broad and loose adaptation, but it has lead to a life long fondness for these characters.

So this artwork Protect Our Master!! by Wen Juinn just hits all the right notes.

I love his interpretations of Monkey and Pigsy in the foreground here and the way that Monkey’s staff is bending slightly with the force of his blows.

http://poibuts.deviantart.com/art/Protect-Our-Master-471547831

http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/93kO/53f9df23

The Over-telling Of Superhero OriginsOver at io9.com they’re asking if Superheor movies should focus so much on origin stories. My answer to that is no although I would make an exception for somewhat more obscure characters. But even then I really don’t think it’s necessary. You can generally cover the key elements of a superhero’s origin in the first 15 minutes of a movie (or before the credits).I think with movies very often they fall back on it as a crutch. Because it’s a ready made story and in the case of characters like Superman, Spider-man and Batman it is a pretty cool story. The first time you see it.But I’d extend that answer and say comics companies (I’m looking at you DC!) need to stop retelling their origin stories all the time as well. I swear if I see one more origin of Superman…http://io9.com/should-superhero-movies-just-skip-the-origin-stories-1628163287http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/93fF/53f9df23
Aug 29, 2014

The Over-telling Of Superhero Origins

Over at io9.com they’re asking if Superheor movies should focus so much on origin stories. My answer to that is no although I would make an exception for somewhat more obscure characters. But even then I really don’t think it’s necessary. You can generally cover the key elements of a superhero’s origin in the first 15 minutes of a movie (or before the credits).

I think with movies very often they fall back on it as a crutch. Because it’s a ready made story and in the case of characters like Superman, Spider-man and Batman it is a pretty cool story. The first time you see it.

But I’d extend that answer and say comics companies (I’m looking at you DC!) need to stop retelling their origin stories all the time as well. I swear if I see one more origin of Superman…

http://io9.com/should-superhero-movies-just-skip-the-origin-stories-1628163287

http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/93fF/53f9df23

Book Review: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie - http://amzn.to/1sxm3KXThis is the first book in a trilogy called The First Law and I should stress that it is not in itself a complete story. In fact, in many ways it reads more like a  prologue. A coming together of the cast and setting the stage before the story itself gets going.That’s being a little harsh perhaps, but I didn’t find it a satisfying experience to read just this book so it’s worth noting. Be prepared to invest in all three books. And it is probably worth your time reading all three because this one has a lot to recommend it.Now right before reading The Blade Itself I had just finished a re-read of The Lord Of The Rings (my first in a while) and so I couldn’t help comparing the two books while I was reading this one. And it’s quite a contrast.While The Lord Of The Rings deals in heroic figures who are larger than life and better than the average man, The Blade Itself is populated with mean, petty, broken people. Aragorn and Frodo are the sort of people we might aspire to be, while the characters here are the sort we would look down on and judge wanting.And yet, throughout the book and despite the horrible things that some of the characters do, there is a thread of hope of redemption running through Joe Abercrombie’s story. The suggestion that regardless of what they have done they can do something good. A detail that I think actually rings true in Tolkien’s work as well.While unquestionably modern fantasy with all its grimdark trappings there are moments here where wondrous buildings are described and events are narrated where it sounds like just the sort of thing we might see in Middle-Earth. So we have an interesting melding of the classic high fantasy with the new gritty realism.And the characters are very interesting and quite complex. You may well not like them very much and in some cases you may find that characters you thought were likeable turn out to be very flawed indeed. But for all that I found myself captivated by their lives and wondering how things were going to turn out for them.Which is of course why it was so damn annoying that the book just ends. It’s not even a cliffhanger, it just ends.There are clearly bigger elements being set up here. Corruption in the “Union”, Shanka (humanoid, apelike, goblin creatures) massing on the borders of the north; The Empire restive in the south and Eaters (people who have eaten men’s flesh) causing havoc for their own reasons.None of this is resolved or even really clarified for us. It’s a big, epic, story and clearly you have to read the whole thing for it to make sense. But it’s a story I very much want to read all of now.The Blade Itself - http://amzn.to/1sxm3KX #BookReviews   #FantasyBooks   #Fantasyhttp://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8ZCc/53f9df23
Aug 26, 2014

Book Review: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie - http://amzn.to/1sxm3KX

This is the first book in a trilogy called The First Law and I should stress that it is not in itself a complete story. In fact, in many ways it reads more like a  prologue. A coming together of the cast and setting the stage before the story itself gets going.

That’s being a little harsh perhaps, but I didn’t find it a satisfying experience to read just this book so it’s worth noting. Be prepared to invest in all three books. And it is probably worth your time reading all three because this one has a lot to recommend it.

Now right before reading The Blade Itself I had just finished a re-read of The Lord Of The Rings (my first in a while) and so I couldn’t help comparing the two books while I was reading this one. And it’s quite a contrast.

While The Lord Of The Rings deals in heroic figures who are larger than life and better than the average man, The Blade Itself is populated with mean, petty, broken people. Aragorn and Frodo are the sort of people we might aspire to be, while the characters here are the sort we would look down on and judge wanting.

And yet, throughout the book and despite the horrible things that some of the characters do, there is a thread of hope of redemption running through Joe Abercrombie’s story. The suggestion that regardless of what they have done they can do something good. A detail that I think actually rings true in Tolkien’s work as well.

While unquestionably modern fantasy with all its grimdark trappings there are moments here where wondrous buildings are described and events are narrated where it sounds like just the sort of thing we might see in Middle-Earth. So we have an interesting melding of the classic high fantasy with the new gritty realism.

And the characters are very interesting and quite complex. You may well not like them very much and in some cases you may find that characters you thought were likeable turn out to be very flawed indeed. But for all that I found myself captivated by their lives and wondering how things were going to turn out for them.

Which is of course why it was so damn annoying that the book just ends. It’s not even a cliffhanger, it just ends.

There are clearly bigger elements being set up here. Corruption in the “Union”, Shanka (humanoid, apelike, goblin creatures) massing on the borders of the north; The Empire restive in the south and Eaters (people who have eaten men’s flesh) causing havoc for their own reasons.

None of this is resolved or even really clarified for us. It’s a big, epic, story and clearly you have to read the whole thing for it to make sense. But it’s a story I very much want to read all of now.

The Blade Itself - http://amzn.to/1sxm3KX

#BookReviews   #FantasyBooks   #Fantasy

http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8ZCc/53f9df23

Captain America BathrobeWhile I completely understand and support the wish to dress like Captain America…. this… is not a flattering look on you (or actually anyone).It does look like a nice bathrobe mind you. Perhaps just keep the hood down?Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/1tAFK79http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8ZBe/53f9df23
Aug 26, 2014

Captain America Bathrobe

While I completely understand and support the wish to dress like Captain America…. this… is not a flattering look on you (or actually anyone).

It does look like a nice bathrobe mind you. Perhaps just keep the hood down?

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/1tAFK79

http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8ZBe/53f9df23

Hulk Smash SmallvilleIt’s an often asked question. Who would win if Hulk fought Superman.Well…. guaranteed who wouldn’t win? The unfortunate town where the fight took place.This image by Lewis Tillet amuses me.http://www.deviantart.com/art/Hulk-Smash-Smallville-477107472 #MarvelComics   #Hulk   #Supermanhttp://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8ZyN/53f9df23
Aug 26, 2014 / 3 notes

Hulk Smash Smallville

It’s an often asked question. Who would win if Hulk fought Superman.

Well…. guaranteed who wouldn’t win? The unfortunate town where the fight took place.

This image by Lewis Tillet amuses me.

http://www.deviantart.com/art/Hulk-Smash-Smallville-477107472

#MarvelComics  
#Hulk   #Superman

http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8ZyN/53f9df23

Disney’s Duck Tales - The HobbitOkay here’s a mashup you maybe never even considered. What happens if you take Donald and his family from Disney’s Duck Tales and you put them in The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug?Well Narya91 did it and it turns out what you get is awesome.http://www.deviantart.com/art/The-Hobbit-Ducks-The-Desolation-of-Smaug-472184252 #Tolkien   #TheHobbit  #Disney #DuckTaleshttp://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8Yiv/53f9df23
Aug 25, 2014 / 1 note

Disney’s Duck Tales - The Hobbit

Okay here’s a mashup you maybe never even considered. What happens if you take Donald and his family from Disney’s Duck Tales and you put them in The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug?

Well Narya91 did it and it turns out what you get is awesome.

http://www.deviantart.com/art/The-Hobbit-Ducks-The-Desolation-of-Smaug-472184252

#Tolkien   #TheHobbit  #Disney #DuckTales

http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8Yiv/53f9df23

Looks about right.▼ Reshared Post From Andrew Craig ▼25/08/2014 - 1http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8XGd/53f9df23
Aug 25, 2014

Looks about right.

▼ Reshared Post From Andrew Craig ▼

25/08/2014 - 1

http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8XGd/53f9df23

So What Did You Think Of The New Doctor Who Title Sequence?I thought this one was deserving of its own post.I do find the new sequence a refreshing change from the time vortex we’ve had since the series returned. But it’s not subtle it is. Time… we get it!All in all I think my favorite of all the nuWho title sequences so far is the ones for the second half of Season 7.http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8WOa/53f9df23
Aug 24, 2014

So What Did You Think Of The New Doctor Who Title Sequence?

I thought this one was deserving of its own post.

I do find the new sequence a refreshing change from the time vortex we’ve had since the series returned. But it’s not subtle it is. Time… we get it!

All in all I think my favorite of all the nuWho title sequences so far is the ones for the second half of Season 7.

http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8WOa/53f9df23

Doctor Who Review:  Season 8 Episode 1 - Deep BreathThe episodes that introduce a new Doctor to Doctor Who carry some additional weight and challenges with them. While there have been a few classics (The Power of the Daleks, Spearhead from Space and The 11th Hour spring to mind) there have also been well… less memorable ones (I’m looking at you Robot, The Twin Dillema and Time and the Rani).In the modern era with a more knowing audience the challenges have possibly multiplied. Certainly Deep Breath is the most self-aware introduction to the Doctor that we’ve ever been given. In some ways that is good, in others not so much.Ground It In The FamiliarOne of the tricks Moffat pull out of his bag here is to surround Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor with lots of familiar faces and places. So we get the Paternoster Gang, Jenna Coleman’s Clara and another visit to Victorian London. I’ve lost count of the number of times the Doctor has landed there now. Even the villains are familiar with the clockwork robots from a previous Moffat episode (The excellent The Girl In The Fireplace) showing up.That’s a smart play. It reassures the more conservative portion of the audience who don’t handle a change in the actor well. I’m not sure what percentage that is (not the kids I’m certain) but they are quite vocal so it’s a measurable number of the adult viewers.Post Regeneration TraumaIt’s also become a tradition in Doctor Who for the Doctor to undergo some level of confusion after regeneration. Over the years this seems to have become a bigger part of the plot for the opening stories. If you’ve been watching for a long time that’s an element that does get a bit repetitive.Here Capaldi initially plays it for laughs but then morphs it almost seamlessly into pathos. This is why Peter Capaldi is going to be awesome in this role. Certainly Steven Moffat’s script gave him the beats and the lines, but it’s Capaldi who can sell it. And that switch from funny to serious and then to dangerous (more on that later) is not an easy one to pull off.Green ScreenOne of the negatives that cannot be avoided is that Doctor Who is a science fiction show produced on a BBC budget. While some stories work around that limitation Moffat has a tendency to just go for broke with grandiose scenarios. The advances in modern CGI help a lot here. But the opening sequence with the dinosaur in London just screamed green screen to me.For my tastes this is not a deal breaker, but it may stop some people from fully getting into the story.The Darker DoctorMuch has been made in the press and online of the idea that Peter Capaldi would play a darker version of the Doctor. And oh boy does he.Our first sign of this change is his casual dismissal of everyone else as idiots. Planet of the Pudding Brains as he puts it. His sense of superiority and his lack of concern for the feelings of others is not something we would have seen in recent incarnations of the character.But then it gets really interesting. This isn’t just an arrogant Doctor, this is a dangerous Doctor. He leaves Clara. Sure, he has a plan and he’s not just completely abandoning her. But he walks away.And just what did happen in his final confrontation with the clockwork android? That there would even be a doubt in our minds shows how effectively Capaldi has cemented the notion that this Doctor is dangerous.I hope that’s something we see throughout the season because it adds a great bit of tension back into the show. The verbal sparring between Clara and the Doctor is one of the highlights of the episodeKnowing… Oh So KnowingMuch is made about the way that social media allows fans to connect with their shows more closely. But that’s not entirely a good thing. It could certainly be argued that the Doctor Who audience is too aware of the behind the scenes elements by this point.Whether it’s overly personalizing their relationship with show runner or worrying far too much about when certain actors are going to leave the show, fans are focussing more attention on the making of the show rather than what’s actually on screen. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but the level of access and speed of information is exacerbating the problem. And now it seems to be happening from the other side of the camera too.When I watched this episode the things that stuck out and annoyed me were not spoilers, but rather stuff that screamed to me of being put there in response to fan commentary. Whether it was the multiple references to Capaldi being Scottish, endless talk of flirting, this is stuff that did not feel organic to me. It felt like the writer talking to the fans through the characters.It’s unreasonable to expect a show to be made in a bubble in this day and age… but I sort of wish it was.New Doctor, Same ShowPeople tuning in to this episode of Doctor Who hoping to see a radically different show are destined for disappointment. This is not Classic Doctor Who, it’s nuWho, and that isn’t going to change in the foreseeable future. Partly because television has simply changed since Doctor Who’s original run and partly because… this format is highly successful.What we did get is a clever tweaking of the existing formula. Something that I think and hope they will build on as the episodes progress in this season.  Peter Capaldi is as promised a different Doctor to any of the preceding ones and over time that difference should bleed into the stories and characters that surround him.But this is still at its heart a fast paced romp where action is more important than sophisticated plotting and where the science takes third place at best.Overall I’d say that Deep Breath is a workmanlike episode. It achieved its aim and it’s laid foundations that can be built on. But judged purely on its own, it’s okay but unexceptional episode.Capaldi, on the other hand, is brilliant. #DoctorWho    #PeterCapaldi   #DeepBreath   #12thDoctorhttp://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8WOb/53f9df23
Aug 24, 2014 / 2 notes

Doctor Who Review:  Season 8 Episode 1 - Deep Breath

The episodes that introduce a new Doctor to Doctor Who carry some additional weight and challenges with them. While there have been a few classics (The Power of the Daleks, Spearhead from Space and The 11th Hour spring to mind) there have also been well… less memorable ones (I’m looking at you Robot, The Twin Dillema and Time and the Rani).

In the modern era with a more knowing audience the challenges have possibly multiplied. Certainly Deep Breath is the most self-aware introduction to the Doctor that we’ve ever been given. In some ways that is good, in others not so much.

Ground It In The Familiar

One of the tricks Moffat pull out of his bag here is to surround Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor with lots of familiar faces and places. So we get the Paternoster Gang, Jenna Coleman’s Clara and another visit to Victorian London. I’ve lost count of the number of times the Doctor has landed there now. Even the villains are familiar with the clockwork robots from a previous Moffat episode (The excellent The Girl In The Fireplace) showing up.

That’s a smart play. It reassures the more conservative portion of the audience who don’t handle a change in the actor well. I’m not sure what percentage that is (not the kids I’m certain) but they are quite vocal so it’s a measurable number of the adult viewers.

Post Regeneration Trauma

It’s also become a tradition in Doctor Who for the Doctor to undergo some level of confusion after regeneration. Over the years this seems to have become a bigger part of the plot for the opening stories. If you’ve been watching for a long time that’s an element that does get a bit repetitive.

Here Capaldi initially plays it for laughs but then morphs it almost seamlessly into pathos. This is why Peter Capaldi is going to be awesome in this role. Certainly Steven Moffat’s script gave him the beats and the lines, but it’s Capaldi who can sell it. And that switch from funny to serious and then to dangerous (more on that later) is not an easy one to pull off.

Green Screen

One of the negatives that cannot be avoided is that Doctor Who is a science fiction show produced on a BBC budget. While some stories work around that limitation Moffat has a tendency to just go for broke with grandiose scenarios. The advances in modern CGI help a lot here. But the opening sequence with the dinosaur in London just screamed green screen to me.

For my tastes this is not a deal breaker, but it may stop some people from fully getting into the story.

The Darker Doctor

Much has been made in the press and online of the idea that Peter Capaldi would play a darker version of the Doctor. And oh boy does he.

Our first sign of this change is his casual dismissal of everyone else as idiots. Planet of the Pudding Brains as he puts it. His sense of superiority and his lack of concern for the feelings of others is not something we would have seen in recent incarnations of the character.

But then it gets really interesting. This isn’t just an arrogant Doctor, this is a dangerous Doctor. He leaves Clara. Sure, he has a plan and he’s not just completely abandoning her. But he walks away.

And just what did happen in his final confrontation with the clockwork android? That there would even be a doubt in our minds shows how effectively Capaldi has cemented the notion that this Doctor is dangerous.

I hope that’s something we see throughout the season because it adds a great bit of tension back into the show. The verbal sparring between Clara and the Doctor is one of the highlights of the episode

Knowing… Oh So Knowing

Much is made about the way that social media allows fans to connect with their shows more closely. But that’s not entirely a good thing. It could certainly be argued that the Doctor Who audience is too aware of the behind the scenes elements by this point.

Whether it’s overly personalizing their relationship with show runner or worrying far too much about when certain actors are going to leave the show, fans are focussing more attention on the making of the show rather than what’s actually on screen. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but the level of access and speed of information is exacerbating the problem. And now it seems to be happening from the other side of the camera too.

When I watched this episode the things that stuck out and annoyed me were not spoilers, but rather stuff that screamed to me of being put there in response to fan commentary. Whether it was the multiple references to Capaldi being Scottish, endless talk of flirting, this is stuff that did not feel organic to me. It felt like the writer talking to the fans through the characters.

It’s unreasonable to expect a show to be made in a bubble in this day and age… but I sort of wish it was.
New Doctor, Same Show

People tuning in to this episode of Doctor Who hoping to see a radically different show are destined for disappointment. This is not Classic Doctor Who, it’s nuWho, and that isn’t going to change in the foreseeable future. Partly because television has simply changed since Doctor Who’s original run and partly because… this format is highly successful.

What we did get is a clever tweaking of the existing formula. Something that I think and hope they will build on as the episodes progress in this season.  Peter Capaldi is as promised a different Doctor to any of the preceding ones and over time that difference should bleed into the stories and characters that surround him.

But this is still at its heart a fast paced romp where action is more important than sophisticated plotting and where the science takes third place at best.

Overall I’d say that Deep Breath is a workmanlike episode. It achieved its aim and it’s laid foundations that can be built on. But judged purely on its own, it’s okay but unexceptional episode.

Capaldi, on the other hand, is brilliant.

#DoctorWho   #PeterCapaldi #DeepBreath #12thDoctor

http://click-to-read-mo.re/p/8WOb/53f9df23