June 13, 2011 Leave a comment


Hello? Is there anybody still alive out here?


It started with a customer coughing rather violently. I shrugged, and thought nothing of it, before carrying on with my work as usual. Stood in the shop, it was fairly quiet, as was usual for a Monday. I carried on until my shift finished, the occasional customer trickling in. Some of them were coughing their heads off, but I assumed that it was the flu, or typical Boston people being shit. So, I finished work and grabbed my bike, before setting off home.


Got through the middle of the shopping precinct, when I nearly hit an old fella, who was just stood in the middle of the road. I managed to swerve at the last minute, and swore under my breath at him. As I turned to see if he had reacted, all I got was a grunt as he carried on shuffling slowly down the road. Whatever. I carried on biking home, and there were a few more people just stood around on the paths, but as I didn’t ride on them, it wasn’t a problem. Someone growled at me, but eh, there are a lot of weirdos in town.


I arrived home to find the house empty, and the rest of the houses in our road empty. That was a bit strange. The cat was still here, but she didn’t have any food. I was a bit worried, so I tried phoning my parents. Nope. No answer. I turned the TV on, and immediately turned to the news. There was something wrong with people. An actual zombie apocalypse. Quite worrying. We were told to stay in our houses. So, here I am. Staying in the house. If you’re nearby, and uninfected, let me know.

Categories: Uncategorized


June 1, 2011 2 comments

I am going to give you a round up of my holiday in Valencia. It will probably be uninteresting, but I might as well blog about it. Haters be hating.

The idea for a holiday was mooted by Lisa at the turn of the year. She wanted to go to Valencia, I wanted to go to Croatia. Croatia was far too expensive, since I didn’t think I could save up enough to go. So we started looking at Valencia. Eventually we sorted out flights (with EasyJet), a hotel (the hotel), and insurance, and it all came to about £250 each. Granted, Lisa paid for most of it, but I am  in the process of paying her back. It was self catering though, but I didn’t mind, being an uber-fussy eater.

Anyway, I travelled down to Woking on Friday the 22nd. It was a pretty good journey, one of my old school friends was on the train so we spent the whole journey catching up. Anyway, I was quite nervous, considering when I arrived in Woking, it would’ve been the first time I met Lisa’s parents. I got there at about half 6 in the evening. Lisa and I were talking walking to her house, I was asking about how I was supposed to greet her mum. I assumed either awkward waving or a handshake. However, all fears etc were allayed when I walked in the door and her mum gave me a hug. I think a lot of the nerves disappeared and such after that, which suited me quite well. We went out for dinner at Zizzis, and I had possibly the best Carbonara ever. It was delicious. Also the garlic bread.

Saturday was spent getting up far too early and then spending the day mooching around after finishing packing until Lisa’s step-dad took us to the airport. I’d never been to Gatwick before, but I knew it was going to be busy. I hate crowds. Still, check in went without a hitch. Sadly, bag search thing didn’t. I forgot I had handcream in my bag, so they had to tip it all out and search it for a bomb. When that was sorted we left and waited for the plane. Boarding was fine, the journey was fine, we landed fine, the taxi picked us up fine and then we got to the hotel fine. It was a business hotel. We didn’t get in until about 8pm, so we nipped across the road and grabbed Burger King for lunch, before returning to the hotel and sitting and suchlike.

Sunday was our 1st year anniversary, so we didn’t get up ’til nearly 11am. Then we went into the city and explored a little, taking pictures of pretty buildings and suchlike. Have a picture:

That’s Lisa in front of the big fountain in the centre of Valencia. It was a pretty fountain and a lovely city. The picture of me in front of the fountain is fucking terrible. Then we went back to the hotel for a couple of hours before going out for an anniversary dinner. We went to a Chinese restaurant because we didn’t wish to risk going somewhere that neither of us would eat stuff. It was really nice though, perfect way to spend our anniversary.

Monday we went down to the beach. The beach was very pretty and hot. We didn’t stay for very long though, wanting to explore the area around.

That’s Lisa in front of the big fountain in the centre of Valencia. It was a pretty fountain and a lovely city. The picture of me in front of the fountain is fucking terrible. Then we went back to the hotel for a couple of hours before going out for an anniversary dinner. We went to a Chinese restaurant because we didn’t wish to risk going somewhere that neither of us would eat stuff. It was really nice though, perfect way to spend our anniversary.

Monday we went down to the beach. The beach was very pretty and hot. We didn’t stay for very long though, wanting to explore the area around.

Lunch time lead to my first taste of tapas, when we had Potato Croquettes. Not really very Spanish, but quite tasty. Also cheap. Dinner that night was at a Pizzeria a couple of doors down from the hotel. Two prosciutto pizzas plus a jug of Sangria for just over 20 euros? Yes please. We also got given a complimentary shot, which meant I was a little bit tipsy.

Tuesday we went exploring to the City of Arts and Sciences bit of Valencia (Ciudad de las Artes y las ciencas). It’s a series of buildings, which include an event place, an aquarium and a museum. They were really pretty buildings, but it was ridiculously expensive to enter, so we just looked at the pretty buildings and statues and things.

Dinner that night was authentic tapas at a proper tapas restaurant, called Tapetap. It was empty when we arrived, and empty when we left, but it was good. We had some garlic bread with pulped tomato on top of it, more potato croquettes, and a platter of ham and chorizo, with Manchega cheese. It was very very very good, and ridiculously cheap.

Wednesday we went into the city again to look at Mestalla (the Valencia CF stadium). Sadly it was completely shut down, but I didn’t mind. Turns out the last tour was on the Sunday, but oh well.

We then explored the city some more. It was great. Dinner was an Indian, which was pretty good.

Thursday we went into the city again, this time staying on the metro for a bit longer until we were the opposite side of the city, as we wanted to explore properly. We found the old public library, and a lot of other old buildings. We also found a massive indoor market, which was really cool, and it also had a Horchata bar. Horchata is a Valencian drink made from tigernuts, water and sugar. We also had fatons with them, which were like pastry, which you dip into the drink. It was really nice. As well as trying Horchata, we finally found a restaurant that explained exactly what Valencian Paella was, leading us to try it. I don’t like seafood, so we had to find a chicken paella-which Valencian Paella was. It was very tasty. One of the main things I wanted to do in Spain was to try paella, and I did. Box ticked. Have a picture:

After that, we decided to only have a light dinner, and went to a bar across the road. That was the worst meal we had, which doesn’t mean it was terrible, but it wasn’t fantastic-it was spicy sausage, fried egg and chips. The chips were a bit undercooked, but it wasn’t bad. Cheap so is fine.

Friday was a beach day again. We both rented sun loungers for the entire day, and just laid in the sun reading/talking/people watching. It was lovely. Except for when I got home I was bright red, having neglected to sort out my suncream properly. My shoulders are still quite burnt, but it isn’t too bad now. We had sangria for lunch and again at dinner, seeing as it was the last night.

Saturday was mooching around town because we were kicked out of the hotel at noon, but our taxi to the airport wasn’t until half five. It was alright though. The taxi was early, so we arrived at the airport early. I was attacked by a child, and offended the child’s father by saying “Hola.” (The father was pissed off because the family were Romanian-it would appear I insulted him by speaking Spanish or something. I don’t even know). I had a coffee on the flight back, and so was very hyper. We arrived back in England at about 10pm, and were back in Woking by 11pm.

Sunday was spent watching the F1, catching up with Dr. Who and Modern Family, talking about the holiday and generally being lazy. I felt a bit awkward being in Lisa’s house, leading to me refusing to ask for food x] because I hadn’t been paying money towards the food. We had a roast for dinner and it was very nice.

Monday Lisa and I went out to lunch with her friends Kayleigh and Lucy, who I had met before and suggested meeting up for lunch with. It wasn’t bad. We also caught up with Glee and Game of Thrones.

Tuesday was go-home day. Let’s not talk about that.

All in all, it was a fantastic holiday. I love Lisa with all my heart, and have nothing but thanks for her for organising the holiday. It was easily the best holiday I ever had.

Next time I want to go half-board though. Also save up more money for it.

Categories: Life

Black Swan Review

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Contains spoilers.

Black Swan. A film about ballet. Yet it was a film I had heard a lot about, and wanted to see. I am a fan of Darren Aronofsky, especially enjoying the Wrestler. Black Swan is considered a companion piece to the Wrestler, sort of appealing to a different demographic the other film.

The film centres around a production of Swan Lake, which requires the lead ballerina to play both the part of the innocent White Swan, and then the less-innocent Black Swan. This means that the ballerina must be able to accurately portray both sides of the coin. The film is based around a New York ballet company, where Nina (Natalie Portman) is trying to win the part of the Swan Queen. She has never been good enough for the role before, but is determined to get it. By any means necessary.

Nina is supported by her mother, Erica, who herself used to be a dancer. Well, supported isn’t really the right word. Erica pushes Nina. Pushes and pushes. The relationship between Erica and Nina is rather weird in the film, it’s borderline abusive, and it sets up for some disturbing scenes.

Nina feels threatened by the arrival of a new dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis), who perfectly embodies the Black Swan, and so when auditions come, she is under yet more pressure. Failing to impress, she still manages to persuade the director, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) to cast her as the Swan Queen. Cue a slow deterioration of her mental state, in her determination to try to become the perfect Swan Queen.

It is this deterioration which makes the film so brilliant. Aronofsky perfectly blends fiction and reality, and when Nina starts to hallucinate, it makes it hard for the viewers to distinguish between what she sees, and what really happens. The pressure of such a big part, on top of her other personality problems, and the pushiness of her mother all combine to make life even more difficult for Nina, and the film perfectly depicts all of these problems.

One of the things that impresses me most about this film is the sheer devotion that both Kunis and Portman gave to honing their parts. They both spent six months training to become ballet dancers, so as they could perform the routines themselves. It all adds to the spectacle and magnificence of the film, because it really helps you to connect with Nina and Lily. Some of the scenes were shot with dance doubles, but a lot of it was the two of them.

There are a lot of good visual effects in the film, particularly the hallucination scenes which are used during Nina’s slow descent into madness, and the finale is also beautifully rendered in 3D technology. It’s amazing to watch.

As expected, the soundtrack is amazing as well. Obviously it has all the pieces for the actual production of the ballet, but the other music is fantastic as well. It all gets you more involved in the film, and it helps to depict exactly what the director wants.

Overall, the film is fantastic. Occasionally disturbing, often thought-provoking, and completely compelling, Black Swan is a must see for anyone. You don’t even have to like or care about ballet, because the film isn’t that centered around the nuances of the art. It has engaging characters, a brilliant script, excellent effects and a fantastic soundtrack, and Black Swan thoroughly deserves all the accolades which it has, and will win.

Categories: Films Tags: ,

Paul Review

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

(May contain some minor spoilers)


Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have a massive mancrush on Simon Pegg, and I love almost anything that he’s involved in. Shaun of the Dead is my favourite ever film, and Hot Fuzz is another of my faves, so I went into Paul with high hopes. I wasn’t disappointed.


The main draw of the film is the duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, obviously. The two of them play a pair of British comic geeks (Graeme and Clive), who are on a quest to travel across America, looking at the famous sites of alien activity. The film follows them from Comic Con, where they then travel onwards to Area 51 and the Black Mailbox, eventually wishing to end up at Roswell. They want to see all the sights, being obsessed with aliens. Of course, things go awry when, midway through their journey, they meet an alien, Paul. Paul is a CGI alien, voiced by Seth Rogen, who has been in America for a long time. Don’t ask him about probing. He drinks, swears, smokes weed, and is arguably as much of a human being as Clive and Graeme.


Now, Paul is a fugitive. All Paul wants is to get home. The fact that Clive and Graeme have became friends with the alien leads to a number of problems. Particularly that the FBI is chasing after him, ably led by Special Agent Lorenzo Zoil (Jason Bateman).


The first thing to notice is that the film has quite a good cast. As well as Pegg, Frost, Rogen and Bateman, they are ably supported by Jane Lynch, Sigourney Weaver, Jeffrey Tambour and many others.


There are, of course, a number of nerdy references. The best has to be the Cantina music from Star Wars playing at various times. As well as that, the entire soundtrack is pretty good, complimenting the action and suchlike during the film.


The special effects and CGI is impressive, with Paul the alien being really quite detailed. He has a vast array of special powers, all of which are plot-related, and generally useful. As a character on his own, Paul is excellent, but it’s when he’s with Clive, Graeme and the rest of the characters where he really shines through. It’s fairly difficult to pull off interaction with a CGI character, in my opinion, but the film does a great job.


The film of course draws comparisons with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, which is an unavoidable reality, and also a shame. On it’s own, without comparison, Paul is an excellent film. It’s got a lot of funny lines, good sequences, a great soundtrack and an awesome cast. Sadly, if you compare it with the previous two Pegg/Frost films, it pales in comparison. It’s not as laugh out loud funny as Shaun of the Dead, nor as action-packed as Hot Fuzz. One of my issues with the film is that it isn’t as quotable as the other two films, if you asked me to recite a line, I can’t really do it. Couple this with the overly liberal sprinkling of unnecessary cursing, I feel it makes the film slightly worse than the other two films. Despite this, it’s still really good. I would recommend anyone to go see it.

Categories: Films Tags: , ,

Heavy Rain Review

January 8, 2011 6 comments

First of all, an apology for the lack of posts. I got distracted by working, and other things that meant I just neglected posting here. However, I’m gonna try and post a bit more again. Let’s start with reviewing a game I finished during 2010, Heavy Rain:



Now, Heavy Rain is a Playstation 3 exclusive. It was one of the main reasons why I chose to purchase a Playstation 3 over an XBOX360, as I had heard nothing but good reviews for it. It’s different to the usual kind of games, but it’s excellent. Trust me. I’m going to endeavour to write this review without spoiling anything, but no promises, so have an advanced warning.


It was released in the UK on the 24th February 2010, and it calls itself an “interactive drama” game. The premise of the game revolves around a serial killer, nicknamed the Origami Killer, and four people involved in the case: Ethan Mars, Madison Page, Norman Jayden and Scott Shelby. Ethan Mars is the father of a boy who goes missing, and he is trying to save his son before the killer strikes. Madison Page is an investigative journalist, who becomes embroiled in the case, Norman Jayden is an FBI profiler who has been brought in to try and catch the killer, and Scott Shelby is a Private Investigator, employed by previous victims’ parents to try and find the killer.


The game is based around a series of quicktime events, where you press the corresponding button, or perform the corresponding movement on your controller which flashes up on screen. Sometimes fiddly and frustrating, it generally works well. It does, however, require you to give the game one hundred percent concentration, as if you look away from the screen for even a moment you could miss an important prompt, thus screwing up your game. In September, there was a patch which allows you to use the Playstation Move controller if you so desire, but not owning one means that I didn’t bother. I imagine it’d work quite well, though.


You control each character, and can interact with a variety of objects, and people, whatever and whenever you want. You can also access the character’s inner monologues. The game, first and foremost, is a mystery game, and your ultimate aim is to find out who the Origami Killer is. This means that you should not leave any stone unturned, because if you do, you could miss something important. It takes a lot of investment, but the end is worth it.


There are a number of different choices during the game which you can make, and, unlike some games, these choices really do affect the outcome of the game. If you make one mistake early on in the game, it comes back to haunt you. There is no “game over,” it just means that you might not catch the killer. There are twenty two different endings, so there is plenty of replay value, plus, there is the possibility to choose which specific part of the game you want to start from; once you’ve passed it, you are able to replay that part, so if you know you’ve screwed something up, you can go back and try again. I would, however, recommend just playing the game through once first, before replaying it from different points. Just because.


The game is beautifully presented. Each environment looks good, the characters are modelled well, and they’re even lip synched fairly well, which is always good. There is a lot of little details which make it even more awesome, and everything looks pretty. The game would work well without the good graphics, but it’d then be more Monkey Islandesque, whereas the details and such make Heavy Rain unique. The game isn’t all that difficult, but you can up or lower the difficulty at any point if you so wish.


The plot itself is wonderfully crafted. When you finally realise who the Origami Killer is, and how things dovetail into one, it’s one of those “wow” moments. Likewise, there are plenty of “holy shit” moments during the game, some disturbing, some not so, but the dialogue and plot are among the best in games that I’ve ever played. The soundtrack is likewise amazing, with plenty of atmospheric music. Altogether, the game is fantastic.


Obviously, there are some flaws, but they are pretty minor. The fact you have to think about every little thing can be difficult for you to follow, and if you blink you can miss it, but if you’re prepared to put in the time, the rewards are worth it. The quick time and button prompts are sometimes frustrating, but they never detract from the quality. The plot, graphics, music, dialogue and everything make Heavy Rain one of the best games released in 2010, and one of my favourite games. It has replay value, just to see all the endings, but you don’t lose anything only playing it once. You will, however, get attached to your characters, and probably want to see all the endings. I highly recommend the game if you have a PS3.

Categories: Vidja Games Tags: ,

Despicable Me Review

October 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Now, I’m a sucker for good, animated movies, and when I first saw the trailer for Despicable Me, I was hooked. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve gone to see a film on the opening weekend, and I wasn’t disappointed. This review may contain spoilers, so read on with caution.


Despicable Me is directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, and it stars the voices of Steve Carrell (Gru), Jason Segal (Vector), Russell Brand (Dr Nefario), Miranda Cosgrove (Margo), and many others. It’s an excellent voice cast, with the possible exception of Russell Brand, but even my dislike for him doesn’t outweigh my enjoyment of the film.


The basic plot is that Gru is a master criminal, who has enjoyed years of success, only to be usurped by a young upstart called Vector. So, Gru comes up with a master-scheme, he is going to steal the moon! However, to steal the moon, he requires a shrink ray, which is in Vector’s possession. So, Gru decides that the best way to get the shrink ray is to adopt three young girls, Margo, Edith and Agnes. He uses them as pawns so as he can go steal the shrink way to eventually steal the moon. However, he soon begins to enjoy the girls’ company, and eventually a happy ending is achieved for all.


As with a lot of animated films, the plot ends up as a good mix between comedy and sadness. There are comedic elements, mainly from Gru’s yellow minions, which are brilliantly funny, with some awesome one-liners and general actions. On top of that, Jason Segal puts in a great performance as Vector-those of you who have seen How I Met Your Mother will recognise certain nuances in Segal’s acting which will remind you of Marshall.


The film is available in 3D, however I saw it in 2D because it was cheaper. I don’t think anything was taken away from the film because it was 2D, but there were specific scenes which were designed to be seen in 3D-one in particular would be the rollercoaster scene, which looked good in 2D, but would probably look better in 3D.


The musical score in the film is also excellent, and it sets the scene and accompanies the film brilliantly. I enjoy it when a film has a good musical overlay, and this one is no exception-it doesn’t really detract attention from the film, but it is good in adding atmosphere.


You can probably see the ending coming-it is, after all, a kids film. All kids films follow the same sort of plot, and Despicable Me is no exception. However, it is done well, and I enjoyed it. The film appeals to both adults, and kids. I’m 21 and I enjoyed it, and I know that most people will too. It has jokes which will go over kids heads, meaning it’s great for adults.


Overall, I think that Despicable Me is an enjoyable film. I won’t go as far as saying it’s as good as the Pixar animated films, but it is still pretty good. The characters are excellent, the scripts are great, the music’s awesome, and graphically it is really good. The time flew by, and it is certainly a film I would recommend seeing. I would see it again, and I would score it at 8/10.

Categories: Films Tags: ,

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Review

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

(Note, I haven’t read the comics yet, so this is purely a review of the film with no prior knowledge)(PLOT SPOILERS AHOY)

Based off of the successful series of comic books by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a film about the eponymous character, played by Michael Cera, and his struggle to wni the girl of his dreams, Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Of course, it is not going to be that straightforward-it turns out that Ramona has a lot of baggage. She has seven “evil exes,” and in order for the couple to be truly happy, Scott must defeat Ramona’s exes.

The story itself is set in Toronto, Canada, and Scott is the bassist in a rock band called “Sex Bob-omb.” Yes, a reference to a video game. This is why the story is so awesome-so many little references. Those of you with eagle eyes will notice how often the Tri-Force from Zelda shows up, and there are references to Street Fighter, and a host of other games. Yet, if you aren’t a gamer, it doesn’t matter, as the references are often so obscure that it doesn’t matter if you miss them-it won’t affect the plot.

The film centres around Scott, and his increasingly complicated love life. At the beginning of the film, he is dating a high-schooler (Scott is 23 years old), and this is a source of mirth for many of Scott’s friends-particularly his band mates. Scott’s relationship with Knives Chau is integral to the plot, as when he meets Ramona, he has to deal with trying to dump Knives as gently as possible, whilst trying to win Ramona’s heart. On top of all of this, there is Scott’s relationship with two of his other exes-Kim, who happens to be the drummer of Sex Bob-omb, and Envy, who is the lead singer of another band, The Clash At Demon Head. Throughout the entire film, Kim seems to be mainly sympathetic and nice towards Scott, with the occasional sardonic comment, but generally it was an amicable break up. However, Scott’s relationship with Envy is a strange one-the man is hung up on his ex, who he claims “broke his heart.”

Of course, the main plot is him trying to overcome Ramona’s exes. The first time Scott gets in from meeting up with Ramona, he receives an email from Matthew Patel, who informs Scott about the League of Evil Exes, and tells Scott that he must defeat the seven Evil Exes in order to live happily ever after with Ramona. Of course, Scott immediately dismisses the email, and deletes it. However, Patel turns up during the Battle of the Bands, and attacks Scott. Actually attacks him. Cue an impressive fight scene, where Edgar Wright blows the budget of special effects. One minor sticking point is that Patel somehow has mystical powers, which is explained, basically, because he’s Indian (yes, including Bollywood dancers to prove this point). On top of that, Scott is apparently the equivalent of Ryu from Street Fighter-he has magically got the ability to fight competantly, something which can only explained by too many video games. How I wish that were true in real life. Anyway, Scott defeats Patel, and he explodes into tiny little coins-another reference.

Obviously now Scott takes the hint, and realises that he does indeed have to fight Ramona’s evil exes. So he does. He has to defeat Lucas Lee, a former skateboarder who is now an actor, who is rock-hard. Then, he has to defeat Todd Ingram, who, to make things even more complicated, is now dating Envy, Scott’s ex. Todd has magical vegan powers, which leads to another epic fight scene, and one of the more amusing moments of the film when Todd loses his powers. It is genuinely laugh out loud funny. Following the fight with Todd, Scott has to fight Roxy, who is like a ninja. This fight is also entertaining, as Ramona helps, and Michael Cera does his usual limp-wristed thing, but it’s funny. Now the film has been going for quite a while, so the fifth and six fights are amalgamated into one, when Scott and Sex Bob-omb have to do another battle of the bands against the twins who Ramona dated, Kyle and Ken Katayanagi. This is by far the prettiest of the fights-it isn’t an actual fight, rather the music does the fighting, and it’s pretty damn good.

Of course, Scott’s quest for love gets even more convoluted when Ramona decides to go back to Gideon, her seventh, and final ex. Cue a bit of emo time, before Scott mans up, and goes to Gideon’s club to defeat him. I’m not gonna spoil the ending, but it’s pretty fucking entertaining.

So all in all, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a pretty damn good film. I’ve never seen anything with Michael Cera in it before, but people assure me that his Scott is pretty similar to every other character he’s ever played. I’m sure someone else would’ve done a better job, but eh, he wasn’t so bad. The other actors/actresses are all excellent, and a special mention must go to Kieran Culkin, who plays Wallace Wells, Scott’s gay roommate, who has some excellent one liners. One of the most entertaining parts of the film is how Ramona explains about her exes, which is done via cutaways to scenes from the comic. They’re beautifully drawn, and pretty awesome. By far my favourite aspect of Scott Pilgrim is the soundtrack, though. All of the songs used fit brilliantly, and I downloaded the soundtrack afterwards, all the songs are awesome. You should all download it!

All in all, the film is excellent. It’s pretty, well-acted, well-scripted, with an excellent soundtrack. There are a few laugh out loud moments, and that only makes the film better. My only minor criticism is Michael Cera, but he does an ok job. The references are cool, if you get them, but it doesn’t particularly matter if you don’t. I’d give Scott Pilgrim 8.5/10, and it is certainly one of the best films I’ve seen, riding on the coat tails of many other excellent films this year.

Categories: Films Tags: , ,