Book Review: The Colour Of Magic By Terry Pratchett

Posted on by 5WC in Book

When I was younger I really didn’t read. Books were a chore, tolerated in school and overlooked outside. They were just pages of words, incomprehensible, a puzzle without a picture, and aside from a few magazines (that related to my passions and hobbies), I could never find a way to pull any enjoyment from the words and stories they contained. My school friends, however, were different. For many, books played an important role in their lives and, at a time when you’re naively trying to press upon each other how cool and intellectual you are, I can clearly remember them going on about how Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody was the best song ever written, and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld saga was the best tale ever told.

But, still, I didn’t read it. Read more

Book Review: Back from the Dead by Nick Kyme

Posted on by 5WC in Book

In my mind, Necromunda is a dark and dirty, concrete dystopia. It’s where too many people are forced to exist in too smaller a space. Broken pipes spewing toxic sewage and exposed cabling jerry-wired beyond capacity. Where buildings collapse without warning and gang law turns a blind eye to murder, crime and suffering.

This is the world I want the Tales from the Underhive collection of Necromunda stories to paint; the background I demand each story play out within. It took four stories to reach that requirement, Andy Chambers finally stepping up to the mark with Survival Instinct and thankfully, Nick Kyme has continued to stalk those hallowed and dangerous streets, with Back From The Dead. Read more

Film Review: Sherlock Gnomes

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I want to say that I was dragged, kicking and screaming to see Sherlock Gnomes. But that wouldn’t be true. I want to claim how the involvement of Emily Blunt was enough to draw more than just a passing interest, but again, that would be a lie. I’m sure, however, that Blunt’s involvement was enough to get me intrigued but ultimately, and truthfully, I went to see it because I’d seen everything else and fancied a trip to the cinema!

Sherlock Gnomes is the follow up to Gnomeo & Juliet, a film I haven’t seen., and so, while the trailer seemed honest and amusing enough what the final film would be like, the tone and maturity of its humour and tale, was a complete unknown. Without any prior reference point, what I was letting myself in for could be absolutely anything. Read more

Film Review: Avengers Infinity War

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I sit in this strange middle ground when it comes to “comic book” movies. I never grew up reading comics and I’ve never really been mad on the films. I watched the bric-a-brac stories – Michael Keaton as Batman, Andrew Garfield as Spiderman, Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier in X-Men – but when Marvel reinvented itself, unleashing the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), I just let things drift me by. I just couldn’t get excited by it all.

This means that as the behemoth of the MCU gathered momentum I was always one step behind. I didn’t bother with their early films, and I feel I should admit I’ve never seen Ironman. As time has progressed I’ve remained almost blasé about them, and the MCU. I really wouldn’t call myself a fan. I don’t really know much about the characters or their stories, but for some reason, that doesn’t stop me from going to see them on the big screen, I’m always swayed by the marketing machine. Read more

Book Review: Black Library Celebrations 2018 Short Stories

Posted on by 5WC in Book

When I was younger, and first discovered the dystopian worlds of fantasy and sci-fi created by Games Workshop, the only publishing they did was to print rulebooks, army expansions and a monthly magazine called White Dwarf. The back stories and folklore to the worlds they created, and the races that inhabited them, reserved purely to bulk out these tomes. The idea of delving furthering into the history of the characters, and the battles they rage, in their own standalone novels, yet to see the printer’s press, as it were.

This predating of the start of the Black Library – named after a fabled vault of books within the Warhammer 40,000 universe – seems somewhat scary when you realise that 2018 saw them celebrating their 20th birthday! The passage of time really is a cruel mistress, and to mark the anniversary, along with a branded the bookmark (which I got for buying Brothers of the Snake by Dan Abnett), they had also printed a celebratory collection of short stories, which you were given for simply entering the store! Read more

Book Review: Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton

Posted on by 5WC in Book

The book I turned to when I very nearly walked away from ‘Stranger From A Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein’, was ‘Dragon Teeth’ by Michael Crichton. I’d chosen it simply because the cover has the fossilised skull of a dinosaur emblazoned across it. Crichton was, after all, the mind that invented Jurassic Park, and even if I do think the film is far, far better than the book, I will always believe I like his writing as a result, whether truthful or not.

I didn’t get more than 50 words into ‘Dragon Teeth’, however, before I returned to Stranger From A Strange Land, not because Crichton had done anything wrong, but because I’d become so befriended by the previous characters I couldn’t walk away. Finally, though, having forced myself through Heinlein’s polysyllabic speech, I returned to Crichton’s apparent dinosaur story. Keenly awaiting the prehistoric adventures that, I thought, lay ahead. Read more

Film Review: Rampage

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I really don’t know why I wanted to see Rampage. Every time I’d seen the trailer for it, I had come away thinking it was just a throwaway popcorn fodder film. After all, when you combine Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with a big CGI monkey and huge petrol-fuelled explosions, you’re never going to set the bar at awards season levels of expectation. And yet, there was a huge advertising poster for the film in the lobby of my local multiplex – a static image that did nothing but reinforce the tone of the trailer – but it appealed to me somehow, it made something click inside my mind. It screamed “silly explosive fun” and left me longing to see the film.

As expected, Rampage is a bad film. I’d even go as far as to say that for large parts of it I just sat there thinking it’s a shame that we live in a world where people will throw vast sums of money – an estimated $120million – to create a film so implausible silly and stupid, when there are hundreds of projects and stories that could be have been funded instead, and provided a far better 107minutes of entertainment I’m sure. Read more

Book Review: Stranger In A Strange Land By Robert A. Heinlein

Posted on by 5WC in Book

Yes, it’s more Sci-Fi! But, I’m no longer in the world of Warhammer turning, instead, to the classic literature of Robert A. Heinlein. Based purely on the suggestion of Google, and their “you may like to read…” algorithm, I picked Stranger From A Strange Land, completely overlooking the fact Heinlein was also the author of Starship Troopers.

Even if I’d remembered Heinlein’s previous offering, it wouldn’t have put me off from beginning read. The issues I found in Starship Troopers are now so diluted by the cult love I hold towards its film adaptation, that I don’t really recall them anymore. But looking back to them now, I wish I’d looked them up, because, while Starship Troopers is flawed, Stranger From A strange Land takes its problems to a whole new level. Read more

Film Review: A Quiet Place

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I don’t watch many horror films. It’s a genre that has never really appealed to me because I find it’s often too polarised in its construction to be really entertaining. Films seem to forget the need for a plot and become dominated by the single idea of trying to scare you. Boringly plodding along, hanging everything on either the monotony of “quiet, quiet, BANG” suspense or shockingly repulsive over the top gore. Both of which cause me to mentally withdraw.

What does work for me, however, is tension. I like horror when it doesn’t conform. When it builds and builds and builds, driving you to the edge of your seat because you can’t face the thought of what may happen next. Get rid of the gore, get rid of the clichéd scare tactics, and play with the unknown. Build emotional naivety into a twisting, real story and you can easily keep me awake at night. It’s just that too few films have the courage to stick with it and not shout “BANG” just as I’m beginning to panic. Read more

Film Review: Love, Simon

Posted on by 5WC in Film

There is a predictability to the film industry that is as regular and reassuring as clockwork. You can guarantee that each year will start off with hard-hitting stories that are baiting the upcoming awards season. This will be followed up by school holidays littered with CGI comic book adventures before Christmas arrives with a huge blockbuster release. All padded out and supported by a foundation of franchise follow-ups and happy-go-lucky tales of growing old (dis)gracefully staring the elder statesmen of Hollywood.

You can also be sure that the high school uniforms will out in force. Every year, the already flooded genre of “American Teenage Coming of Age Tales” will get reworked to reflect the changing world and attitudes we now inhabit. Whether it’s through the dark seriousness of Cruel Intentions, the introspective search of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower or just the warm plagiarism of She’s All That – to name just three – the genre has been providing comedic examination and explanation, to reassure and guide, ever since, this one time, at band camp… Read more

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