Film Review: Armageddon

Posted on by 5WC in Film

When I relaunched this blog, I wasn’t planning to restart writing film reviews. I haven’t put down my quill of opinion, but found previously, sharing my thoughts caused some of the love of film I hold to be lost. I reached a point where I was watching a film so I could write a review, rather than writing a review because I’d watched a film. It had become a job I felt obliged to do and taking a step back was the only way regaining the enjoyment.

Watching Armageddon, however, I felt I had to air my thoughts. It is a shockingly awful film, but at the same time, it is wonderfully brilliant. It sums up, exactly, the reason I started writing film reviews. I would joke that I was fed up of listening to critics, waxing lyrical about how a director had “invoked the imagery of a 4th century Rubicon painting, while combining the thinking and philosophy in a lexicon of hybrid ideas, with the left wing Neoplasmic tones of the 16th century French romanticist Dubois”. When, in fact, I’d really spent 2 hours watching animated cats! All I wanted to know was if I went to the cinema, and spent £10 on a ticket, would I enjoy it, or would I be wasting my money? Read more

Film Review: Ready Player One

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I can still vividly remember reading Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. It’s by far the best book I’ve ever picked up. I couldn’t stop reading as the pop culture of the ‘80s and 90’s that I grew up with was brought joyously back to life, digitised into a world of virtual reality and mixed into an amazing futuristic Willy Wonka inspired treasure hunt. It was a book that just oozed a narrative quality I have yet to see matched.

After turning over the final few pages my mind, I instantly thought: “this’d make a cracking film” so when I discovered that it was already in production, with Hollywood heavyweight Steven Spielberg at the helm, it seemed like all my Christmas’s had come at once. Ready Player One was coming to the big screen and I couldn’t wait. Read more

Book Review: The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Posted on by 5WC in Book

I think it is fair to say, that right now, I am essentially lost in a world of science fiction novels. That when it comes time to pick the next book to read I’m drifting firmly through the futuristic worlds of space. Whether it’s with the Games Workshop created, war-torn dystopia of the Necromunda Underhive, or their infamous Space Marines, I am not spending much time on planet Earth right now.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I just reach saturation of all things space and need to feel the pull of gravity, again as it were – hence the curve ball of indulging in The Angry Chef’s debunking of fad diets and pseudoscience in the middle of this alien adventure – but, with my satiety once again in need of satisfying, I was back blasting off into the stars – this time, however, I was leaving the grim darkness of the Warhammer future behind and instead, entering the galaxy as imagined by Becky Chambers.

I came across Chambers purely because Google’s, unimaginative algorithm, saw I’ve been reading a lot of sci-fi and suggested I read some more! Not something you really need to ask me twice about at the moment, especially when the suggested book is only £2.99! Read more

Book Review: Survival Instinct by Andy Chambers

Posted on by 5WC in Book

It’s happened! I’ve finally found a Necromunda novel I truly like. There aren’t many named characters in the world of Necromunda, it’s much more about gangs, fighting for survival and territory, under the association of their respective noble houses, but there are one or two outsiders. Characters who stand alone. Arguably the most famous, and certainly the most strikingly notorious, is Mad Donna Ulanti. So legendary is her renown that on the Tales from the Underhive page of The Black Library website, it’s Mad Donna taking the central role in the titular artwork. She was in a story, and I have been longing for it.

I didn’t know, however, which story she would be in and so, was again placing my “reading order trust” purely in the “zip file modification date” system I now employed. Uploading Survival Instinct, the apparent next tale in my journey deeper into the Underhive. As the cover of the book loaded before me, a shiver ran down my spine. There stood Donna. A look of abhorrent disgust in her eyes, her infamous chainsword standing to attention and her trusty Plasma pistol pointing at me, beckoning me inside. Read more

Book Review: Salvation by C.S. Goto

Posted on by 5WC in Book

It was with tentative trepidation that, once again, I re-entered the Underhive; continuing my journey through the “Tales of the Underhive” omnibus of Necromunda novels. I had slipped down the slope of expectation with both Outlander by Matt Keefe and Junktion by Matthew Farrer and, therefore, taken some time away, to cleanse my mind of the disappointment it had felt, before stepping back in.

I think the reason I’ve been so disappointed, however, is entirely due to the image of Necromunda I hold in my head. A few days ago, I was discussing the age-old argument of “book versus film”, saying that I was worried about the upcoming release of Ready Player One onto the big screen. It is arguably the best book I’ve ever read, but worryingly, the film trailer is leaving me very cold. I’m fearful of what’s to come and I think I’m now having the same problem with these stories. I want the world I picture, not the world as interpreted by others, and it’s clouding my expectations and enjoyment as a result. Read more

Book Review: The Angry Chef by Anthony Warner

Posted on by 5WC in Book

I first came across the Angry Chef on Twitter. Somebody had tweeted about a new blog, written in secret, by an shouty, ranty, ‘stick it to the man’ author who was putting their boot into the world of clean eating that you just had to read. One tweeted link became two became three; each seeming to make ever greater proclamations of grandeur that it was brilliant that somebody had finally stuck their head above the parapet and taken on the growing world of food trends, Instagram photos and unrealistic diet claims.

Now of course, my anorexic mind was instantly piqued. When you starve your body, your brain cries out for food, twisting your life to revolve around nothing else. Hoping you might just pick up the hint and eat. You consume food in every form you can besides it’s physical self. Becoming through pour saturation the most dangerous of all things: an uneducated expert. Proclaiming a forensic knowledge and interest in all things food born purely out of your own minds disregarded cries for sustenance and survival. So of course, whether I’d agree with it or not, any side to any debate on food will have me clicking and reading. Read more

No Such Thing As A Fish: Live in Reading

Posted on by 5WC in Opinion, Stage

Growing up I enjoyed a good laugh; I would forego the wildlife documentary on BBC1 in favour of Live At The Apollo on BBC2. I’d shelter from the Glastonbury summer rain in the comedy tent before the beer tent and with my friends I’d charge around the Thames Valley in pursuit hearing Bill Bailey tickle the comedic ivories again and again. So, it’s no surprise that I watched QI; a comedy panel show that hides educational facts under the veil of comedic laughs. A bit like your Mum hiding broccoli under a pile of cheesy mash. Or something like that. Read more

Book Review: Brothers Of The Snake By Dan Abnett

Posted on by 5WC in Book

I don’t know if I should admit to the fact that I only bought this book because it was (relatively) cheap! Games Workshop’s publishing arm – The Black Library – was celebrating it’s 20th birthday and my local store was having a party (I even baked a cake). Lots of hard to find books were back on the shelves (well a huge pile by the till) and special promotional goodies were on offer. Simply turn up and get a free book of short stories; go further and actually buy a book and get a branded bookmark as well. Read more

Book Review: Junktion By Matthew Farrer

Posted on by 5WC in Book

Having re-entered the world of Necromunda through, apparently, the wrong door with Outlander by Matt Keefe and, with over half a dozen other stories still waiting in line, I thought I really should find some sort of correct order. Google turned up nothing, an email to the Black Library customer service was little help either but, I realised, the zip file the omnibus downloads as had differing modification dates for each title and, while based on no actual truth or logic, it was all I had to go on. So, with that as my guide, I turned to the oldest modified book: Junktion by Matthew Farrer and started reading.

Instantly, I was taken away from the expansive sand dunes that had plagued my enjoyment of Outlander and instead, placed into a shanty town of corrugated metal and rationed utilities which again, didn’t quite live up to the mental image of the tough underground world I so desperately wanted, but it was much, much closer than I’d previously found. Read more

Book Review: Outlander by Matt Keefe

Posted on by 5WC in Book

Spend a few minutes looking through the book reviews or reading about my creative history and you’ll quickly realise I’m a fan of the worlds created by Games Workshop. I may not roll dice, or spend hours holding a paintbrush anymore, but I still draw great enjoyment from delving into the sci-fi and fantasy imaginations of the Warhammer worlds through the books they publish.

When I was younger, and did actually play the games, the one I was into most was Necromunda. Skewed from the lore of Warhammer 40,000; it involved small gangs of street fighters struggling to survive in the harsh urban sprawls of a hive world. It appealed to me as the games were shorter and more narrative. Fights were between equal numbers and tactics were simple – it’s last man standing. Your gang developed as it gained experience, one fight helping narrate the next. Winning or losing didn’t really matter; Necromunda rewarded experience. Read more