Monday, February 06, 2017


Finally got around to watching Ran today.  It's the fifth (?) Kurosawa film I've seen and the first one I've really loved.  It's quite a relief, actually.  When you come across feted Great Directors and try their output and are underwhelmed, there's a heady mix of disappointment and worrying if you've missed something.  But I missed nothing with Ran.  Excellent movie.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

My films of 2016

With inevitability.  And a little late.  And, as ever, possibly including a film or two from 2015.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Literary-based humblebrag

My dad mentioned last Christmas that he'd written a list of all the books he'd read over the year.  I liked the idea so I did it myself for 2016.  And since I don't want the piece of paper kicking around anymore, I'm copying it up here.  This also serves as a neat way to brag about my reading habits to the Internet at large, aren't I clever etcetera.  (Seriously though, it turns out I read a lot more than I realised.)

Books in bold are non-fiction, books struck through are ones I gave up on.


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (not sure if I'd already started this one or not when 1 January rolled around)
The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
The Celts by Alice Roberts
Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
The Children Act by Ian McEwan
Tales from Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin
Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon
A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor
Hokusai's Great Wave by Timothy Clark
Futuristic Violence & Fancy Suits by David Wong
The Other Wind by Ursula LeGuin
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Kingdom Come by J. G. Ballard
The Peasants' Revolt by Alastair Dunn
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham
Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison
Everything's Eventual by Stephen King
Japan: A Short History by Mikiso Hane
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
London: A Short History by A. N. Wilson
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
Ships and Seafaring in Ancient Times by Lionel Cassan
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
The King in the North by Max Adams
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
The Bachman Books by Stephen King
The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Monsieur Pamplemousse and the Militant Midwives by Michael Bond
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
Judi Dench: With a Crack in Her Voice by John Miller
The History of Mr. Polly by H. G. Wells
The Concise Pepys by Samuel Pepys
The Universe versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
Half the World by Joe Abercrombie
Grotesque by Natsu Kirino - and that's what I'm currently about halfway through.

So, yes.  BOOKS

Monday, October 03, 2016

First world problems

So Steins;Gate 0 is out at the end of the month and now I learn about this other, intriguing new visual novel called Root Letter that's out a couple of weeks before that?

Why can't developers space their releases out a bit more?  I mean, honestly.  It's very inconsiderate.


Sunday, May 08, 2016


Just finished episode 4 of Life is Strange, and I'm not sure about the SHOCKING TWIST in its last moments.  The events of episode 5 may yet prove to justify it but at present it seems like a SHOCKING TWIST for the sake of a SHOCKING TWIST, rather than one that was properly seeded through the plot's earlier motions.  We shall see.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

And another thing

As well as Life is Strange, my other big thing this week is watching the excellent Gravity Falls.  They're both frequently gorgeous to look at, and both set in Oregon.  So now I rather want to visit Oregon.

Life is Strange

So after my initial foray into Life is Strange after buying it, I basically forgot about it for four months and picked it up again at the beginning of the week.  I have not really touched any other game since.  It's absolutely stunning.  Thoughtful, beautiful, often better-directed than many films (the ending of episode 1 is just perfectly done) and an absolute credit to all those involved in its making.

I can see how certain aspects would irk some people, but I don't care.  Easily one of the best games I've ever played.  And I've still got a fair chunk of it to go!  (I'm near the beginning of episode 4 of 5.)

Monday, April 11, 2016

The 36th Chamber

I've just finished watching The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, and it was rather good.  I would recommend it.  Though the ending was bizarrely abrupt - I assumed there was some footage missing, but I can't find any corroboration to that on the interwubs. 

There were some excellent fight scenes (some very good weapon ones, particularly), but I rather liked the fact that the majority of it was about the hero's training at the Shaolin temple.  It gave it a calm, meditative quality that most martial arts movies lack, as well as some delightfully distinctive visual set-pieces.  The candle chamber was undoubtedly my highlight.

You can see why the famously kung fu-loving Wu-Tang Clan named their first album in its honour.  I initially wrote that as "fist album".  That works too.  But it does remind me of The Man with the Iron Fists, which I managed to stick about twenty minutes of before giving up.  Good lord, RZA,  Good lord.