Culture consumed since the last list on 11th December.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – The final film in The Hobbit trilogy. Too long. Cartoon battle scenes. Didn’t like it. I was going to write more, but Adam Roberts has put it better than I could. Read his review here.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Missed this when it was in cinemas. Everyone said it was brilliant. So watched it on AppleTV over the holidays. It was good. Escapist fun. Not as good as everyone was saying in my opinion, but certainly fun for a few hours.
Get Started In: Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy – new how-to book on writing Science Fiction & Fantasy. Contains good advice for anyone writing in any genre. Should be in your library of writing books. If you have such a thing. Which you should!
Forest Gump – I didn’t really get this film when it came out in the 1990’s. But the more I see it, the more I like. Caught it on Film 4 over the holidays.
Divergent – Post apocalypse story set in a partially ruined Chicago. Weak characters. Weak plot. No real back story. It’s not a patch on The Hunger Games.
The Hunger Games 1,2 & 3 – Again. Read the 3 books from start to finish. Finally got past the first person present style. Watched the three films again too. Looking forward to Mockinjay film hitting iTunes Store in March. I still think the films are the best format to tell this story.
Beyond – British science fiction story about a couple trying to find their son. He was with his grandparents when aliens invaded the Earth. Not in a good way. Turns out this is a relationship story, rather than a story about the aliens. Which would be fine if it went to a conclusion. But it doesn’t. Did they run out of money?
Ex Machina – Now this is good. Just opened so no spoilers. Suffice to say that this is a smart story about artificial intelligence. Go see it. New Scientist review is largely spooler free and worth a read.
Ascension – New 3-part sci-fi series being shown in the UK on Sky 1. Have seen parts 1 & 2 so far. Have to admin that I nearly stopped watching this during the first hour of part 1. To much telling between characters to explain backstory. And some dubious acting. Mad Men in space I dubbed it on Twitter. However it picks up in the last 30 minutes of Part 1. Guessed the twist in the plot about 5 minutes before it was revealed. Not going to be a classic of the genre, but worth a watch. Just get past the first hour without bailing.
My Cousin Vinny – Love this film. Bought it on iTunes a few years go. Story about a Brooklyn based lawyer and his fiancee coming to the aide of his young cousin and friend when they are falsely accused of murder in the deep south. It’s a comedy. A subtle one. Marisa Tomei won an Oscar for here performance in this film. Rightly so. She’s wonderful in it.
Silver Linings Playbook – I’ve decided to watch the other films that Jennifer Lawrence is in. Based on her performances in The Hunger Games films. May as well start with the one she won an Oscar for. Story is a romantic comedy about a man (Pat) who has bipolar condition, who loses it when he finds his wife in the shower with a work colleague. After 8 months in a psychiatric hospital as part of a plea bargain when he beat up the man he found with his wife, he gets out and meets up with police widow (Tiffany) played by Jennifer Lawrence. She has her own issues as a result of the death of her husband. Pat wants to get back with his wife, and Tiffany agrees to help him in return for him becoming her partner in the annual christmas holiday dance competition. It tells of the changing relationship between than and how it affects those around them. I really like this. Great story played well by all the characters.